Meningioma Cancer Treatment Options

Smear of meningioma displaying
typical whorl formations.

Approximately 22,000 new cases of brain or spinal cord cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States 1. There are several different types of brain cancer that arise from different cells found in the brain. Tumors that form in the meninges, the tissues that line the outer part of the brain as well as the spinal cord, are referred to as meningiomas. This particular form of brain cancer is more common in women than men, and incidence increases with age. 1

While the majority of these particular tumors are benign, there are a small percentage of meningiomas that are malignant and may come back or spread after initial treatment.

Treatment options for meningiomas may include one or more of the following treatment options:

Watchful Waiting
Since meningiomas usually are slow-growing and may not cause any severe symptoms, a watchful waiting approach may be taken where no treatment is performed until symptoms occur and become bothersome. This is especially the case in elderly patients who may not be able to tolerate surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
This form of brain cancer typically is treated with surgery, and majority of the time meningiomas can be cured with the surgical removal.
Radiation Therapy
In those tumors that are not entirely removed with surgery, radiation may be given afterwards in order to try to destroy the remaining tumor cells. In some patients, radiation may be given instead of surgery depending on the location of the tumor.
If the meningioma is not completely removed with either surgery or radiation therapy, chemotherapy may be an alterative treatment option. However, it is not clear if chemotherapy is beneficial in treating this form of brain cancer.


  1. American Cancer Society. Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors in Adults Detailed Guide. Accessed on November 10, 2010.


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