Meningiomas are the most common type of primary brain tumor—that is, a tumor that originates in the brain—and they occur more often in women and older individuals. Meningiomas can be benign or malignant, although benign tumors account for a large majority of cases. These tumors grow in the meninges, which are the layers of tissues that surround the brain and spinal cord, and are slow-growing, typically producing few to no symptoms for years. Malignant meningiomas, however, tend to grow quickly and can spread to other parts of the body.
The classifications of meningiomas
Based on the characteristics of the tumor, a meningioma can be classified into three different grades:
- Grade I – Low-grade tumors that grow slowly.
- Grade II – Atypical, mid-grade tumors that have a higher chance of recurring after removal.
- Grade III – Anaplastic tumors that are fast-growing and malignant.
Symptoms of meningiomas
The symptoms of meningiomas can be subtle, especially for Grade I tumors. Symptoms also depend on where in the brain the tumor is growing, but most commonly, meningioma patients experience:
- Blurry or double vision
- Hearing loss
- Loss of smell
- Weakness in the arms and/or legs
Moffitt Cancer Center’s approach to meningioma treatment
The most common treatment approach for meningiomas is surgery, followed by radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy for Grades II and III meningiomas. This type of surgery is highly specialized, requiring surgeons to remove as much of the tumor as possible while not interfering with the other nearby delicate structures of the brain.
Moffitt Cancer Center has a Neuro-Oncology Program that includes a multispecialty team of neurosurgeons, neurologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and other specialists who provide an individualized, comprehensive approach to meningioma treatment. Our patients have access to diagnostic, therapeutic and supportive care services in one, convenient location, and we also have novel therapy options available, such as clinical trials.
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Michael Vogelbaum, Program Leader, Department of Neuro-Oncology.