• Meningioma Overview

    Meningioma is a benign (non-cancerous), slow-growing tumor originating in the meninges, the membrane layer covering the brain and spinal cord. In children, these rare tumors most often occur in the sixth or seventh years of life and are slightly more prevalent in boys than girls.

    As they grow, meningiomas can compress adjacent brain tissue, affecting the cranial nerves and blood vessels. While most of these tumors are benign, a small percentage are cancerous. These fast-growing malignant tumors often cause neurological problems and swelling in the brain.

    Meningioma Treatment at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's

    Patients with meningioma are treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center through the Brain Tumor Center. Continue reading to learn more about meningioma or visit the Brain Tumor Center homepage to learn about our expertise and treatment options for this condition.

    Symptoms & Diagnosis

    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

    When a meningioma is suspected, diagnostic imaging can be used for diagnosis. A  magnetic resonance spectroscopy, which is done with MRI to detect the presence of organic compounds within sample tissue that can identify normal or tumor tissue, is often the best test for this condition. After all tests are completed, doctors will be able to outline the best treatment options.

    Treatment & Care Options

    Neurosurgery 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. In cases in which the tumor cannot be completely removed, radiation therapy can reduce the rate of recurrence.

    Progressive or Recurrent Disease

    Disease recurrence largely depends on how much of the tumor is removed during the initial surgery. Depending on the site of the recurrence, surgery will usually be performed again. If the recurrence cannot be removed surgically, radiation therapy may be considered.

    Long-term Outlook

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