Are Meningiomas Hereditary?
Meningiomas originate in the meninges, which are the membranes that envelop the brain and spinal cord. While most meningiomas are benign (noncancerous), some can be malignant (cancerous). However, even benign tumors can cause distressing symptoms, such as vision loss, headaches, seizures and weakness in the arms and legs. There are a variety of risk factors associated with meningiomas, including a hereditary disease called neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2).
What is NF2?
NF2 is a genetic condition that is passed down from generation to generation by a parent. A parent with NF2 has a 50% chance of passing along this mutated gene to their children. NF2 doesn’t start showing signs until the late teens or early 20s, often with light brown pigmentation spots. Individuals with NF2 are at increased risk of developing cataracts, benign skin tumors and tumors of the nervous system, including meningiomas. They also have a higher risk of developing malignant meningiomas or multiple meningiomas.
Other risk factors
There are other risk factors for meningiomas, including:
- Age. Meningiomas are more common for individuals 65 and older.
- Race. Black people are more at risk for meningiomas than white people.
- Gender. Women develop noncancerous meningiomas at twice the rate of men.
- Radiation exposure. Individuals who have been exposed to radiation to the head have an increased risk of developing meningiomas.
Moffitt Cancer Center’s approach to meningioma treatment
At Moffitt Cancer Center, our Neuro-Oncology Program diagnoses and treats patients with benign and malignant meningiomas. In one convenient location, our patients have access to neurosurgeons, medical oncologists, neurologists, pathologists and other specialists who have a unique level of experience treating even the most complex tumors. With leading-edge surgical treatments, helpful supportive care services and individualized treatment plans, our Neuro-Oncology Program helps patients achieve an enhanced quality of life.