Blog Understanding Brain Tumor Types Classification, Characteristics, and Treatment Options

Understanding Brain Tumor Types Classification, Characteristics, and Treatment Options

Note: The information in this article is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All images and text presented are for general information purposes only. Please consult your healthcare professional for proper diagnosis. 

Brain tumor types can be various. But first, let’s see what brain tumors are. Brain tumors are abnormal growths of cells that develop in the brain or surrounding tissues.

There are several types of brain tumor which can be classified based on a system that helps their easy identification.

Moyamoya disease can be confused with symptoms of brain tumor, despite both the conditions being drastically different.  

They can arise from various types of cells in the brain. This leads to a diverse range of tumor types with distinct characteristics and treatment approaches.

There are nearly 120 different types of brain tumors, cysts and lesions. These are differentiated based on their location and the kind of cells they comprise of. 

In this article, we’ll explore the classification of brain tumors based on their cell origin. Along with characteristics of common brain tumor types, and available treatment options. 

Curious to know about all five types of brain tumors? Read till the end to know all about it. 


Brain Tumor Symptoms 

Brain tumors originate in the brain and may spread to the different parts or become expansive enough to spread to other organs.

In addition, there’s also the common classification of brain tumor which is dependent on malignancy. It can either be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Symptoms are signs that help differentiate a condition from other similar ones, so that medical professionals can determine the cause of discomfort for the patient. 

The symptom of any condition allows us to recognize it before it worsens over time. This information is crucial in detecting a condition such that it does not get out of control.

Here’s a look at all the signs that tell you may have brain tumor: 

  • A headache that occurs more frequently and severely each time. 
  • Headaches or pressure in the head that gets worse every morning. 
  • Vomiting or feeling nauseous 
  • Eye problems that can become worse 

Classification of Brain Tumors 

Brain tumors are classified based on their cell of origin, location within the brain, and behavior (benign or malignant). The main categories of brain tumors include: 

1. Primary Brain Tumors:

These tumors originate in the brain or surrounding tissues and can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Primary brain tumors are further classified based on the type of cells they arise from, such as glial cells (gliomas), meninges (meningiomas), pituitary gland cells (pituitary adenomas), and nerve cells (neuromas). 

2. Metastatic Brain Tumors:

Metastatic brain tumors, or secondary brain tumors, originate from cancerous cells that have spread (metastasized) to the brain from other parts of the body, such as the lungs, breast, or colon. These tumors are typically malignant and require treatment tailored to the primary cancer site. 

Treatment Options for Brain Tumors 

The treatment approach for brain tumors depends on several factors, including the type, size, location, and grade, and the patient’s overall health and treatment preferences. Treatment options may include: 

1. Surgery:

Surgical resection is often recommended for accessible brain tumors to get rid of the maximum amount of the tumor as possible while preserving neurological function.

In some cases, complete surgical removal may not be feasible, and partial resection or debulking surgery may be performed to reduce tumor size and alleviate symptoms.

Moyamoya surgery is an option that is another example of surgical intervention helping in issues related to the brain. 

2. Radiation Therapy:

Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to target and destruct cancer cells in the brain.

It may be used as the primary treatment for tumors that are not amenable to surgery or as adjuvant therapy following surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells, thus preventing tumor’s recurrence. 

3. Chemotherapy:

Chemotherapy involves the use of powerful medications to kill cancer cells or inhibit their growth.

It may be used alone or in combination with surgery and radiation therapy for certain types of brain tumors, particularly those that are malignant or have a high risk of recurrence. 

4. Targeted Therapy:

Targeted therapy uses drugs or other substances to specifically target cancer cells based on their unique molecular characteristics.

This approach may be used for certain types of brain tumors that have specific genetic mutations or biomarkers. 

5. Immunotherapy:

Immunotherapy harnesses the body’s immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells.

While still being investigated for brain tumors, immunotherapy has shown promise in some cases, particularly for recurrent or refractory tumors. 

Additionally, moyamoya disease diet is also something that is recommended for people with the condition. This ensures that there are low chances of stroke, and the patient is protected against the condition. 

5 Common Brain Tumor Types 

Several types of primary brain tumors can occur, each with unique characteristics, treatment considerations, and prognosis. Some of the most common types include: 

1. Gliomas:

Gliomas are tumors that arise from glial cells, which provide support and insulation for nerve cells in the brain.

This is the most common type of primary brain tumor and include subtypes such as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), astrocytoma, oligodendroglioma, and ependymoma.

These tumors can be aggressive and may require a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy for treatment. 

2. Meningiomas:

Meningiomas are tumors that come from the meninges, the protective membranes covering the spinal cord and brain.

These are usually benign and slow growing, but they can cause symptoms if they compress nearby structures in the brain.

Treatment options for meningiomas may include surgery, radiation therapy, or observation in certain cases. 

3. Pituitary Adenomas:

Pituitary adenomas are tumors that develop in the pituitary gland, a small gland located at the base of the brain.

These tumors can affect hormone production and may cause symptoms such as headaches, vision changes, or hormonal imbalances.

Treatment options for pituitary adenomas may include surgery, medication, or radiation therapy, depending on the size and hormone-secreting activity of the tumor. 

4. Medulloblastomas:

Medulloblastomas are tumors that arise in the cerebellum, the part of the brain responsible for coordination and balance.

These tumors are most commonly diagnosed in children and adolescents and are considered malignant.

Treatment typically involves a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy to target the tumor and prevent recurrence. 

5. Schwannomas and Meningiomas:

Schwannomas are tumors that develop from Schwann cells, which produce the protective covering (myelin) for nerve fibers.

These tumors can occur along cranial or peripheral nerves and may cause symptoms such as hearing loss, balance problems, or facial weakness.

Meningiomas are tumors that arise from the meninges and are typically benign but can cause symptoms if they grow large enough to compress nearby structures. 


Brain tumors encompass a diverse range of tumor types with distinct characteristics, treatment approaches, and prognoses.

Understanding the classification of brain tumors based on their cell of origin, location, and behavior is essential for guiding treatment decisions and optimizing patient outcomes.

With advancements in diagnostic imaging, surgical techniques, and targeted therapies, patients with brain tumors have access to a variety of treatment options tailored to their individual needs. 

By collaborating with a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals, including neurosurgeons, oncologists, radiation oncologists, and supportive care specialists, patients can receive comprehensive care and support throughout their treatment journey. 

After reading the article, if you have any more questions for us, let us know in the comments below! 

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