A meningioma is a tumor that develops from the lining of the brain and spinal cord. It is the most common benign brain tumor in adults. A few meningiomas are malignant. The cause of meningiomas is unknown; however, some meningiomas are associated with specific genetic disorders, such as neurofibromatosis. Symptoms include seizure, headaches and loss of brain function (sensory problems, loss of coordination, etc.). Meningiomas usually grow slowly and may be treated at first with observation over time. For large meningiomas, surgery is usually the preferred treatment.
Meningiomas can usually be surgically resected with permanent cure if the tumor is superficial on the dural surface and easily accessible. Transarterial embolization has become a standard preoperative procedure in the preoperative management. Radiation therapy may include photon beam or proton beam treatment, or fractionated external beam radiation. Radiosurgery may be used instead of traditional surgery in small tumors located away from critical structures. Fractionated external beam radiation can also be used as primary treatment for tumors that are surgically unresectable, or for patients who are inoperable for some reason.