Types of Brain Tumors

Types of Brain Tumors

| from Booking Health GmbH | Diagnosis & treatment

Cancer (tumor) of the brain is not one disease, but a whole group of pathologies that differ significantly by the location of the tumor, its structure, and, most importantly, the prognosis and the methods of treatment used. Some brain tumors types are life threatening and can lead to a sudden death, others are amenable to therapy and...

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Cancer (tumor) of the brain is not one disease, but a whole group of pathologies that differ significantly by the location of the tumor, its structure, and, most importantly, the prognosis and the methods of treatment used. Some brain tumors types are life threatening and can lead to a sudden death, others are amenable to therapy and can be cured completely. We will discuss the main benign and malignant brain tumors types.


  1. Types of brain tumors by localization
  2. Histological classification of brain tumors
  3. Organization of Treatment in Germany

Types of brain tumors by localization


Based on the tumor location, these are the following types of brain tumors:

  1. Intracerebral. They are located inside the brain. More often these are malignant. Spreading through brain tissues, disrupting the functions of the central nervous system. Its complete removal is usually impossible. Despite the lack of metastases, the prognosis for a cancerous brain tumor in most cases is unfavorable.
  2. Extracerebral. More often these are benign tumors. They grow slowly. The brain is not infiltrated, but it is pushed by the tumor from the outside. It is removed completely. Prognosis in this case is usually favorable.

Malignant brain tumors, located intracerebrally, are divided into three large groups:

  • Subtentorial - located in the posterior cranial fossa
  • Supratentorial - in the cerebral hemispheres
  • Tumors of the turkish saddle - this includes tumors of the pituitary gland. Based on endocrine activity, these tumors can be hormone-producing and hormone-suppressing

The location of the tumor is very important in terms of the prognosis of the disease. The closer the tumor is to the functionally active areas, the earlier neurological disorders develop, and the more pronounced the neurological deficit. Localization of the tumor can be told by the symptoms that arise. After all, different structures of the central nervous system are responsible for different functions. Consequently, the malfunction of one or another of its processes indicates tumor presence in the corresponding parts of the brain.

Tumor of the frontal lobe of the brain


When the tumor is located in the frontal lobe of the brain, there are:

  • Epileptic seizures
  • Lack of coordination
  • Personality disorders, mental disorders, often the patient loses a sense of humor and cannot joke, can become aggressive, sloppy, cynical
  • Impaired sense of smell
  • Involuntary movements
  • Primitive reflexes (proboscis, palm-grasping)

Patients become sluggish, the speech is poor, criticism is absent (the patient does not realize that he/she behaves strangely). At the same time, patients retain their spatial orientation and consciousness. Motor disorders develop on the opposite side from where the tumor is located. For example, the tumor of the right frontal lobe of the brain can cause involuntary movements on the left side of the body. Deterioration of the sense of smell can also be one-sided.

Tumors of the brain stem


Tumors of the brain stem are the most concerning. This is a frequent location of gliomas. These malignant brain tumors are inoperable, because the tumor is located near conducting pathways and cranial nerves.

Tumor of medulla oblongata is usually quick and fatal. It is located at the section of the trunk in which the vital centers of respiration and circulation are. Since this area contains ​​a large number of nerves, the symptoms can be very diverse. Usually the first symptoms of a brain stem tumor involve the loss of one of the cranial nerves. There can be weakness in the extremities on the opposite side. As the tumor grows, bilateral paralysis develops.




Types of Brain Tumors


Tumor of the cerebral cortex


Symptoms of the cerebral cortex damage depend on the tumor localization. It can be located in different parts of the cerebral hemispheres.

For example:

  • Central gyrus - the muscle tone of the extremities intensifies, speech disorders develop, there can be epileptic seizures, sensitivity disorder of the face and body.
  • Temporal lobe - the intracranial pressure rises, seizures of epilepsy with loss of consciousness (absences).
  • Upper parietal lobe - pain and sensitivity disorders on the opposite side of the body or only in the hand, apraxia (inability to perform targeted movements).
  • Lower parietal lobule - the patient does not orientate in space, cannot count, writes with errors or cannot write at all, does not recognize the left and right sides.
  • Occipital lobe - visual black-and-white hallucinations, halo in the eyes, disorder of color perception, headaches.

Histological classification of brain tumors


Histological classification of brain tumor is the most significant. It is based on the structure of tissues, where the tumor develops.

It can develop from:

  • Parenchyma of the brain (glioma)
  • Peripheral nerves (neurinomas)
  • Membranes of the brain (meningioma)
  • Hemopoietic tissue (lymphoma)
  • Embryonic cells (glioblastoma)

The WHO classification also takes into account the location and primary origin of the tumor.

There are:

  • Tumor-like and cystic formations
  • Tumors that grow into the cranial cavity
  • Metastatic brain tumors (secondary tumors from other organs)
  • Oncological Turkish saddle tumors(usually pituitary adenomas)
  • Unclassified cancer

Glial tumor of the brain


Glial tumors is the most common brain tumor type (more than 50% of all formations). They can develop from different tissues. The name of the tumor is based on their primary localization. Ependymomas develop from the cells of the ventricles ependyma. Oligodendrogliomas develop from oligodendrocytes. Astrocytomas develop from astrocytes.

Not every brain tumor is malignant. There are also benign tumors. In general, there are 4 stages of brain tumors that are distinguished by the level of malignancy. They differ by their histological structure, not by the number of metastases and tumor size, like cancers of other localization.

1 and 2 stages are benign types of brain tumors. They are considered benign. The 1st degree is ascribed to such types of brain tumor as pilocytic astrocytoma, fibrillary  astrocytoma, xanthoastrocytoma. Ependymoma is considered a tumor of the second degree of malignancy.

These brain tumor types are effectively treatable. Often they have clear boundaries and can be completely removed. Even with their incomplete removal, these types of brain tumors recur infrequently. The probability of their recurrence within 10 years after surgery is no more than 20%. However, in case they recur, the tumor becomes malignant in 70% of cases.

3 and 4 stages are malignant tumors. Anaplastic astrocytoma is the 3rd stage. It is quite common and accounts for a third of all gliomas. It is manifested by infiltrative growth.

Glioblastoma is diagnosed most commonly - it is a brain tumor of the 4th stage of malignancy. It accounts for half of all gliomas and 25% of all CNS neoplasms. Glioblastoma can affect any part of the brain, although its most frequent localization is the temporal region. The prognosis for this tumor is unfavorable. It is impossible to completely remove it. Glioblastoma brain tumor grows very rapidly.

Tumors of meninges


Second most common type of brain tumor after gliomas is tumor of meninges. Meningiomas account for approximately 20% of all brain tumors. 95% of these tumors are called meningiomas. Other types are much less common. It can be hemangiopericytoma, histiocytoma, melanoma and others.

These brain tumors are classified not in 4 stages, but in three:

  • Benign
  • Intermediate
  • Malignant

Benign tumors are most common. A tumor in the 2nd stage of malignancy is called atypical meningioma, and tumor of the 3rd is anaplastic meningioma or meningosarcoma (obsolete name).

Pituitary adenoma


Classification of brain tumors includes tumors of the Turkish saddle. They are the third most common type of brain tumors - they account for about 10% of all cases. Adenoma of the pituitary gland is most common - it is benign. Neurology (symptoms of central nervous system damage) for this pathology is usually not typical. The main symptoms are associated with an increase in the hormone levels that produce a tumor. However, a significant increase in tumor size gradually leads to compression of the optic nerves. Visual impairment can develop. Then the tumor grows into a cavernous sinus, and oculomotor disorders appear. In case it spreads into the third ventricle, intracranial pressure rises.

Approximately 30% of these tumors do not produce hormones. Another 70% are hormone-active. Their name is based on the hormone they produce. The most common one is prolactinoma - it synthesizes prolactin. Less common are somatotropinoma and adrenocorticotropinomas.

Other tumors


Other oncologic pathologies are less common. Here are some types of brain tumors other than the ones described above:

  • Schwannoma. Tumors that developed from the nerves account for 8% of all cases of brain tumors. The most common type is neurinoma (Schwannoma). They develop from the shells of nerves. More often - from sensitive nerve shells, less often - motor nerve shells. As a rule, they are benign, although occasionally they can be malignant. Approximately in 5% of cases a brain tumor of the 4th degree of malignancy develops from the peripheral nerves.
  • Craniopharyngioma. Refers to the tumors that develop from embryonic tissue. It accounts for 4% of all tumors. More often it is benign. It can produce hormones. It occurs in children. Requires complex surgical treatment.
  • Lymphoma. A rare type of brain tumor. It occurs more often in HIV-infected or on the background of immunosuppressive therapy after internal organ transplantation.
  • The germinom. Tumor from embryonic tissue. Asians are 5 times more likely to develop this type of tumor than Europeans. It is usually located in the region of the epiphysis. The germinom is a severe type of cancer. It often metastasizes unlike most other tumors of the central nervous system. Germinoma can not be surgically removed. Usually patients receive only chemotherapy and radiotherapy. However, children recover from it in most cases.
  • Metastatic tumors. Cancer of other organs in later stages can metastasize to the brain. The real prevalence of such tumors is not known, as they appear most often at terminal stages of oncopathology, when patients are not carefully examined. Most often, lung cancer metastasizes to the brain (40% of cases). Less commonly - breast cancer (10%), kidney cancer (6%), stomach or bowel cancer (5%).



Organization of Treatment in Germany


The patient can receive quality treatment in Germany at any stage of the brain tumor. Booking Health has been engaged in the organization of treatment for foreign patients for many years. We are leaders in the field of medical tourism. The service of booking treatment abroad on has become the first and so far remains the only one to have received the ISO quality certificate. This indicates the high quality of the services provided.

We will help you:

  • Choose the best clinic for treatment of brain cancer
  • Organize an early start of treatment in Germany not to let the tumor become too large
  • Collect and translate into German all necessary documents
  • Get to Germany, as well as provide transport from the airport to the clinic that will conduct treatment
  • Save up to 70% of the cost of medical services
  • Secure you from additional expenses (they will be covered by insurance)

To use the services of Booking Health, leave a request on the site. We will call you back within a day to discuss all the details of your potential treatment in Germany.

Choose treatment abroad and you will for sure get the best results!


Authors: Dr. Vadim ZhiliukDr. Sergey Pashchenko


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