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About Childhood 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 it grows, a meningioma can compress adjacent brain tissue, affecting the cranial nerves and blood vessels.
    • Most meningiomas are benign; however, a small percentage are cancerous.
    • They can cause neurological problems and swelling in the brain.
    • Meningioma can occur in any age group, but it is are more common in adults than in children.
    • When they affect children, meningioma occurs most often in children ages six and seven.
    • It is slightly more prevalent in boys than in girls.

    Children with meningioma are treated at the Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center through the Childhood Brain Tumor Center. Our brain tumor specialists have extensive expertise in treating all types of brain tumors, including meningioma.

    Symptoms of Childhood Meningioma

    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 We Diagnose Childhood Meningioma

    Doctors typically diagnosis meningioma with advanced imaging studies. After diagnostic tests are completed, your child’s doctor will be able to outline the best treatment options with your family.

    How We Treat Childhood Meningioma

    Specific meningioma treatments may include:

    • Surgery: Surgery to entirely remove the tumor results in the best outcome for most meningioma cases. If complete surgical removal could harm a child’s neurological function, we may choose to remove part of the tumor.
    • Radiation therapy: In certain situations where reducing the size of the tumor is the only option, we may use radiation therapy to minimize the chance of recurrence. Stereotactic radiotherapy is helpful to reduce the dose to surrounding structures. It is beneficial in treating meningiomas next to the optic nerves or brainstem.

    If the meningioma recurs, surgery will usually be performed again. If this is not possible, or if the tumor cannot be removed, radiotherapy may be considered.

    Your child’s care doesn’t end when active treatment is finished. Their medical team will continue to check for recurrence, manage side effects, and monitor their overall health. Our pediatric survivorship programs, including the Stop & Shop Family Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Outcomes Clinic for survivors of brain and spinal cord tumors, provide extra care, including psychosocial support and social work services.

    Long-term Outcomes for Children with Meningioma

    The survival rate for children with meningioma is over 95 percent.

    Childhood Meningioma Treatment Team

    Our meningioma treatment team includes pediatric neuro-oncologists, surgeons, and radiation oncologists. See a complete list of the specialists in our Childhood Brain Tumor Center.