Types of Spinal Cancer

The types of spinal cancer fall into two main categories. The first and most common type consists of metastatic tumors that have spread to the spine after developing in another area of the body, such as a lung, breast or prostate. The second, rarer type of spine cancer is a tumor that forms directly within the spinal anatomy, including the vertebral bones, intervertebral discs, spinal canal or the spinal cord itself. 

Each category of spinal tumor is further classified based on the type of cells in which the tumor originated. Some of these specific types of spinal cancer include: 

  • Glioblastomas – Form in the glial cells
  • Astrocytomas – Originate in glial cells called astrocytes
  • Mixed gliomas – Contain more than one cell type
  • Oligodendrogliomas – Arise in the brain glial cells
  • Ependymomas – Originate in ependymal cells that line the ventricles
  • Meningiomas – Begin in the meninges, or tissue layers that surround the outer parts of the brain and spinal cord
  • Medulloblastomas – Develop in neuroectodermal cells in the cerebellum
  • Gangliogliomas – Contain both neurons and glial cells
  • Schwannomas – Begin in the Schwann cells that surround and insulate the cranial nerves

At Moffitt Cancer Center, our patients can receive treatment for any type of spinal or nervous system cancer, including primary spine tumors and secondary spinal metastases. Our multispecialty tumor board develops a comprehensive treatment plan for each patient, taking into account the patient’s cancer type and grade, overall health and individual needs. 

As a high-volume cancer center, Moffitt has extensive experience in treating even the rarest types of spinal tumors. Our Neuro-Oncology Program is run by a team of expert neuro-oncologists and spinal cancer specialists. In a single, convenient location, we offer a full range of highly advanced treatment options, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, genetic therapy, biological therapy and clinical trials. 

For more information about the various types of spinal cancer and the treatment options available at Moffitt Cancer Center, contact us at 1-888-663-3488 or use our new patient registration form to schedule an appointment online. No referrals are necessary.