• Meningioma

    Meningioma is a usually benign (non-cancerous), slow-growing tumor originating in the meninges, the membrane layer covering the brain and spinal cord. 

    • As they grow, meningiomas can compress adjacent brain tissue, affecting the cranial nerves and blood vessels.
    • While most meningiomas are benign, a small percentage are cancerous. These fast-growing malignant tumors often cause neurological problems and swelling in the brain.
    • Meningiomas can occur in any age group, but are more common in adults than children.
    • When they do affect children, meningiomas occur most often in the sixth and seventh years of life and are slightly more prevalent in boys than in girls.

    Meningioma Treatment at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's

    Children with meningioma are treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's through the Brain Tumor Center, one of the largest and most experienced pediatric brain tumor treatment programs in the world. Our brain tumor specialists have extensive expertise in treating all types of brain tumors, including meningioma. Our patients receive care from neuro-oncologists, neurosurgeons, neurologists, and pediatric subspecialists.

    What are meningioma symptoms?

    Many patients with meningiomas have no symptoms and require no treatment other than periodic observation. If symptoms do arise, they typically include:

    • Seizures
    • Hemiparesis (weakness on one side of the body)
    • Visual disturbances
    • Difficulty finding words

    Meningioma symptoms may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

    How are meningioma diagnosed?

    When a meningioma is suspected, diagnostic imaging can be used for diagnosis.

    This may include:

    • computerized tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan) – a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. CT scans are more detailed than general x-rays.
    • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.
    • magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) – a test done along with MRI that can detect the presence of particular compounds within sample tissue that can identify tissue as normal or tumor, and may be able to distinguish between different types of brain tumors. It may also be able to tell if the tumor is glial (originating in connective tissue)or neuronal (originating in a neuron, or nerve cell).

    After all tests are completed, doctors will be able to outline the best treatment options.

    What are meningioma treatment options?

    Specific meningioma treatments may include:

    • Neurosurgery – Surgery to completely remove the tumor delivers the best outcomes for patients with meningioma. In certain cases, partial removal is warranted if complete removal will affect a patient’s neurological function, such as if the tumor affects the medial sphenoid wing, orbital, tentorial, clival and posterior parasagittal tumors.
    • Radiation therapy – In cases in which the tumor cannot be completely removed, radiation therapy can reduce the rate of recurrence. Stereotactic radiotherapy is useful to minimize the dose to surrounding structures and is particularly useful to treat meningiomas next to the optic nerves or brainstem.

    How are progressive or recurrent meningioma treated?

    Depending upon the site of the recurrence, surgery usually will be performed again. If this is not possible, or if the tumor cannot be removed, radiotherapy may be considered.

    What is the long-term outlook for children with meningioma?

    It is very rare for a pediatric patient to die of meningioma. The five-year survival rate is over 95 percent.
  • Top Ranked for Cancer Care

    U.S. News Best Children's Hospitals logoWorld class cancer care at the #1 children's hospital

  • Brain Tumor Clinical Trials

    Through research and clinical trials, we are leading the way in improving survival rates for hard-to-treat pediatric brain tumors.callout bg