Tumour Group: Non-Malignant Brain Tumours
WHO Grade:

Grade I, II or III

A meningioma is typically diagnosed as a low-grade brain tumour.

Meningiomas are graded from low (Grade I) to high (Grade III); the lower the grade, the lower the risk of recurrence and aggressive growth.

Prevalence/Incidence: Meningiomas are among the most common primary brain tumours in adults, accounting for approx. 1/3 of primary brain tumours.
Typical Age Range: Common among women and men in their 40s and 50s, but can occur at any age. 

Description of Tumour
Treatment / Standard of Care

Description of Tumour

Meningiomas grow from the meninges, the layers of tissue covering the brain and spinal cord. As they grow, meningiomas can compress nearby brain tissue, cranial nerves and blood vessels. These tumours are 2-3 times more common in women compared to men.

  • May arise after previous treatment from ionizing radiation or excessive X-ray exposure
  • Accounts for 34 per cent of all primary brain tumours
  • In very rare cases, can invade the skull or metastasize to the skin or lungs
  • Women with meningiomas can experience tumour growth during pregnancy
  • In rare cases, multiple meningiomas can develop at the same time in different parts of the brain and/or spinal cord


Common symptoms include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Behavioural and cognitive changes
  • Headaches
  • Morning nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Vision changes
  • Occasionally no symptoms occur and the tumour is detected incidentally

Treatment / Standard of Care

There are various treatment plans which depend on several factors including the age of the patient, the location and size of the meningioma, whether it is growing, previous treatment(s), and the grade of the tumour if already known:

  • If there are no symptoms and the appearance is not that of a classic meningioma, the doctor may monitor the tumour using MRI.
  • Surgery is the standard treatment; for tumours in favourable locations, up to 85 per cent of meningiomas are curable with surgery.

Location, the amount of the tumour left after surgery, and the skill of the neurosurgeon are the important elements in predicting a successful result. In selected cases if the meningioma is unrespectable and classic in its appearance, a biopsy may not be necessary and radiation therapy is delivered as the primary treatment. Stereotactic radiosurgery (radiation) stops the growth of meningiomas in up to 80 per cent of cases.

Some meningiomas can be difficult to remove surgically, and often such patients should be referred to neurosurgeons with particular expertise in meningioma and other skull-base tumour surgery.

Typically this type of brain tumour is not managed with chemotherapy, however specific drugs are showing promise and an area of active research and development.


A prognosis is an estimate of the likely progress of a disease after a diagnosis, based on an average patient group. Since every person is different, please take time to talk with your health care team about how this information applies to you.

By clicking on 'Expand,' a statistic on the prognosis for <Tumour name> will be shown.

Expand for Prognosis Information

For brain tumour patients, a prognosis depends on several factors, which can include age and other health issues, the size of the tumour, its molecular profile, the type of tumour, how much can be removed and its response to treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Meningiomas that are considered Grade I tend to have the most favourable survival rates compared to other higher grade brain tumours. 


Adult Brain Tumour Handbook 6th Edition. Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. 2012.

Conn-Levin, Nancy. "Meningioma." Meningioma. National Brain Tumour Society, n.d. Web. 8 July 2013.

Louis, David N. WHO Classification of Tumours of the Central Nervous System. Lyon: International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2007. Print

Non-Malignant Brain Tumour Handbook. Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. 2011.

American Association of Neurological Surgeons. "Meningiomas.", n.d. Web. Aug. 2013.

UCLA Neurosurgery." Conditions Treated. UCLA Neurosurgery, n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2013.

Image credited to Glitzy queen00 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

You can also download this information as a Information Sheet on Meningioma (pdf).


For more information, please see our Information Sheet on meningiomas.


Lilli’s health troubles began in 2011 with frequent headaches, and ones that sometimes caused her so much pain she was sick to her stomach. When a friend, who happens to be a nurse, noticed Lilli’s migraines, she recommended Lilli get a CT scan, just to make sure everything was alright.

Jack and Lil


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