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Are There Different Types of Spinal Tumors?

There are two main types of spinal tumors: primary spinal tumors, which develop in the spine itself, and secondary spinal tumors, which metastasize (spread) to the spine from other parts of the body. Secondary spine tumors are the most common, though both primary and secondary spinal tumors are caused by uncontrolled cell growth.

How are spinal tumors classified?

Spinal tumors are categorized more specifically based on the kind of cells where the tumor began. Some specific kinds of spinal tumor include:

  • Glioblastomas – Begin in the glial cells of the brain or spine
  • Gangliogliomas – Contain both glial cells and neurons and often form in the temporal lobe
  • Astrocytomas – Form in astrocytes, the star-shaped brain cells in the cerebrum
  • Oligodendrogliomas – A type of glioma believed to form in the brain’s oligodendrocytes
  • Meningiomas – Develop in the meninges, the tissues that surround the outer parts of the spinal cord and brain
  • Mixed gliomas – Contain more than one cell type
  • Ependymomas – Originate in the ependyma, the tissues that line the ventricles of the brain and the central nervous system
  • Schwannomas – Form in the Schwann cells that insulate and surround the cranial nerves
  • Medulloblastomas – Begin in the meninges, the layers of tissue that surround the outer parts of the spinal cord and brain

 For those with a spinal tumor, comprehensive treatment and compassionate supportive care are available at Moffitt Cancer Center. Our experts have unparalleled experience treating all types of spinal tumors. Our Neuro-Oncology Program comprises neuro-oncologists, medical oncologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists and others who focus solely on malignancies that affect the nervous system. These specialists collaborate to ensure each patient’s treatment plan addresses the challenges of their unique cancer. Our individualized treatment plans and the experience of our physicians give our patients the best chance at reaching a favorable outcome and a better quality of life.

If you have a spinal tumor and want to explore the treatment options that are available to you at Moffitt, submit a new patient registration form online or call 1-888-663-3488. Referrals are not required to visit Moffitt.