What Is the Most Common Type of Brain Tumor?

The type of brain tumor a person has can impact his or her treatment plan and prognosis. There are more than 120 different types of brain tumors, each of which has a unique cellular makeup and behavior pattern. Some of these conditions are highly uncommon, while three or four specific conditions account for the majority of all brain tumor diagnoses in the United States.

How common are meningiomas?

Around one third of all brain tumors are classified as meningiomas. These cancers develop in the meninges, which are protective tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord. Meningiomas tend to be slower-growing than other types of brain cancer, and the associated outcomes are often favorable with timely treatment.

Other common types of brain tumors in adults

Gliomas, or tumors that develop in the supportive glial tissues, are also common, making up another 24 to 25 percent of all brain tumor diagnoses. There are three sub-types of glioma, which are:

  • Astrocytomas, which develop in small neurological cells known as astrocytes
  • Oligodendrogliomas, which develop in the myelin, a protective covering that surrounds the brain's nerve
  • Ependymomas, which develop in the lining of the brain’s ventricles, the small, fluid-filled cavities that make up the body’s communication network

Some gliomas contain a mixture of astrocytoma, oligodendroglioma and ependymoma cells. These tumors are known as mixed gliomas.

Where to get comprehensive treatment for brain cancer

As a founding member of the National Cancer Institute’s Adult Brain Tumor Consortium, Moffitt Cancer Center treats even the most uncommon types of brain cancer. Our tumor board meets each week to discuss complex and challenging cases, and our clinical researchers are continually investigating the newest and most effective forms of brain tumor treatment.

If you’ve been diagnosed with or are experiencing symptoms of a brain tumor, you can schedule an appointment at Moffitt Cancer Center with or without a physician’s referral. Call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online to request a visit with an oncologist in our specialized Neuro-Oncology Program.