Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Brain Tumor Underlying Cause

The cause of benign brain tumors is unknown.

Benign tumors can interfere with body functions, but do not spread to distant areas of the body. Malignant, or cancerous, tumors invade or destroy normal body tissue. Their cells break away from the original tumor and spread to other parts of the body.

A benign brain tumor can cause symptoms and damage by inflammation, compression of various parts of the brain, and by increasing pressure inside the skull (hydrocephalus).

Brain Tumor Types

Brain tumors that are non-cancerous, or benign, do not spread to other organs in the body.

Benign brain tumors include:


Brain tumors are often described by their location in the brain:
  • Infratentorial brain tumors:
    • Located in the back one-third of the brain
  • Supratentorial brain tumors:
    • Located in the front two-thirds of the brain.
    • This is the most common location for brain tumors in adults.

Continue to Brain Tumor Anatomy

Last Updated: Dec 2, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Brain Tumor References
  1. Gyure KA. Newly defined central nervous system neoplasms. Am J Clin Pathol. 2005 Jun;123 Suppl:S3-12. [16100866]
  2. Kreutzer J, Fahlbusch R. Diagnosis and treatment of pituitary tumors. Curr Opin Neurol. 2004 Dec;17(6):693-703. [15542978]
  3. Sam S, Molitch ME. The pituitary mass: diagnosis and management. Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2005 Jan;6(1):55-62. [15711915]
  4. Tsai EC, Santoreneos S, Rutka JT. Tumors of the skull base in children: review of tumor types and management strategies. Neurosurg Focus. 2002 May 15;12(5):e1. [16119897]
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