From benign to malignant and primary to secondary brain tumors the Miami Neuroscience Center at Larkin has encountered all types and subclasses. Using state-of the-art technologies we’ve successfully treated the broad spectrum of brain tumors including aggressive tumors like Glioblastoma Multiforme and slower growing tumors like Meningioma.
We are confident that our brain tumor doctors are at the epitome of the neurosurgical field, willing to take on complex and challenging cases with determination and composure. A majority of our cases are patients referred by clinicians (local and international) such as neurosurgeons, neurologists, and oncologists, because they trust our abilities to treat their patients effectively and efficiently. After we treat patients at our brain tumor center the care doesn’t end there. We follow up with our patients for years post-treatment measuring the effectiveness of the treatment and ensuring that the cancer does not grow back.
All of the brain tumors on this page are treated at the Miami Neuroscience Center at Larkin. We’ve provided short descriptions to help you better understand brain tumors and pictures to conceptualize their differences. For each type of brain tumor you will also find before and after images of patients treated at our center. The success of treatment is measured by the eradication of cancer cells, the reduction of tumors size, or the interruption of tumor growth. As you will see in the images below we have successfully reduced or stopped the growth of each type of brain tumor listed on this page and many more. Each patient's case is different and success will be determined by the promptness of treatment, aggressiveness of the tumor, spread of the tumor, type of tumor, and your health condition.
Types of Tumors
Personalized Brain Tumor Treatments
The Miami Neuroscience Center at Larkin provides compassionate, personalized, and patient-centered care for all types of brain cancer. If you’d like to learn more about all our diagnosis and treatment option for your type of brain cancer contact us today.
Brain Tumor Locations
The location of common tumors within the brain.
Brain Tumors Treated At Our Neurosurgical Center
Gliomas are tumors in the central nervous system (brain or spinal cord) and peripheral nervous system that form out of various types of glial cells (neuroglia). Glial cells are referred to as “supportive cells” because they surround, insulate, feed, repair, and protect neurons which transmit electrical signals and information throughout the nervous system. They do not directly influencing synaptic transmission and electrical signals but rather provide supportive functions for neurons and the transmission of information. They are the most common cells in the brain accounting for 80-90% of all brain cells . In the Central Nervous System (CNS) which includes the brain and spinal cord, there are three types of glial cells:
- Astrocytes: are star shaped cells that are responsible for regulating electrical signals (neurotransmission), maintaining cell balance, healing damaged nerves, and providing nutrients to nerves. Tumors that develop out of astrocytes are called Astrocytomas and Glioblastomas.
- Oligodendrocytes: are large glial cells. They are located in the central nervous system, where they produce the myelin sheaths that protect neurons. The myelin sheath determines speed and efficiency of signal transmission between neurons. Tumors that develop from these cells are oligodendrogliomas and ependymomas.
- Microglial cells: are found in the central nervous system. They are a form of immune cell.
In the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) there are two types of glial cells:
- Schwann cells: are also known as neurilemma cells. They help support peripheral nerve fibers.
- Satellite cells: are found in mature muscle. They produce different proteins.
This tumor occurs most commonly in male adults and accounts for 9.4% of primary tumors in the brain and central nervous system. It also accounts for 4% of primary brain tumors in children. It can be low or high grade.
- Low grade (grade II): are slow-growing tumors with relatively better prognosis than the same grade astrocytomas (pilocytic and diffuse astrocytoma) and roughly the same symptoms as low grade astrocytoma.
- High grade: (grade III): known as anaplastic oligodendrogliomas, these are rapid-growing poorly defined cells. They are made up of a combination of neoplastic astrocytes and oligodendrocytes. For the most part, symptoms are the same as low grade oligodendroglioma, however, with a much more aggressive development of the tumor.
Oligodendroglioma often contain hemorrhages, cysts, or calcifications which can be found on CT scans as well as MRIs. This type of glioma can occur in the temporal lobe or frontal lobe. Symptoms will depend on the type and location but may include seizures and headaches, and problems with movement and balance.
Ependymoma brain tumors can form in the spinal cord or the brain. Typically they occur in children, although they can develop in adults. Ependymomas in the brain are usually located in the epithelial lining of the ventricles, which transport cerebrospinal fluid throughout the brain. They are broken down into two groups: infratentorial (the cerebellum and brainstem) and supratentorial (the upper portion of the brain) ependymomas. Infratentorial ependymomas usually form in children while supratentorial ependymomas are found mostly in adults. There are three grades of ependymoma:
- Low grade Ependymoma (grade I): The cells reproduce slowly. There are two subtypes:
- Subependymoma: a rare form that develops in glial cells in the spinal cord and brain.
- Myxopapillary ependymoma: typically develops in the lower spine.
- Low grade Ependymoma (grade II): Grade II ependymomas can occur in the brain or the spine.
- High grade Ependymoma (grade III): Known as anaplastic ependymomas, these are malignant tumors that mostly occur in the brain.
Symptoms of ependymoma may include neck pain, nausea and vomiting, confusion or irritability, and problems with walking and balance.
Astrocytomas are brain tumors that develop from glial cells called astrocytes and are the most common glial based tumor in adults. There are four sub-types of Astrocytomas which are graded based on their structural abnormalities and the speed of their growth.
- Low grade astrocytes occur more frequently in children or young adults and include:
- Pilocytic astrocytoma (Grade I): are slow-growing, benign brain or spine tumors that often take the form of fluid-filled sacs called cysts, although they can also take on solid forms. They generally occur in the lower half of the brain including the cerebellum, brain stem, and around the pituitary gland or hypothalamus. They tend to not infiltrate surrounding tissues, however, they can increase pressure on brain tissue and block the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). This may cause symptoms of headaches, personality changes, disequilibrium, and nausea.
- Diffuse or Fibrillary astrocytoma (Grade II): this is the most common form of low-grade astrocytoma. It occurs in the brain stem. Diffuse astrocytoma most often occurs in young male adults. In 40% of cases, this type of tumor causes seizures. It may also cause headaches, hydrocephalus, and personality changes.
- High grade astrocytes occur more frequently in adults and include:
- Anaplastic astrocytoma (Grade III): is a rare form of malignant brain tumor. They often occur in the cerebral hemispheres but can arise anywhere in the central nervous system. This type of tumors responds better to treatment than Glioblastoma, however, response truly depends on how well-defined the tumor cell structure is.
- Glioblastoma Multiforme (Grade IV): is a fast-growing tumor. It is highly anaplastic which makes it easier for the tumor cells to infiltrate tissue that wasn't previously affected.
Also referred to as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), this rapid-growing glioma is the most invasive of all the glial tumors. It forms in the brain’s astrocyte cells, typically starting in the cerebrum. One of the reasons that glioblastoma multiforme grow so quickly is that they produce their own blood supply Another is that the cells are constantly reproducing and they can easily invade healthy brain tissue. Symptoms will depend upon the size and the location of the tumor but can include difficulties with movement or balance, personality changes, changes in vision, and vomiting and loss of appetite. Some studies have shown that more than half of patients with Glioblastoma brain tumors may experience the following symptoms: headaches, papilloedema and one sided weakness. Roughly 33% present with speech problems and visual problems.
Glioblastoma Treatment Results
Before and after images of patients we treated with Glioblastoma.
Schwannomas develop in the myelin sheath which covers the cranial nerves surrounding the brainstem and cerebellum. These tumors develop from schwann cells in the nervous system, hence their name. They are usually benign, but in very rare cases they can be malignant. Schwannomas occur most often on the vestibulocochlear nerve - the nerve which transmits sound from the ear to the brain. Vestibular Schawannomas (also called acoustic neuromas) are the most common type of schwannoma. Symptoms of schwannomas may include pain in the neck at night, muscle pain or weakness, and numbness around the area of the tumor.
Also called vestibular schwannoma, acoustic neuromas are benign tumor that develops on the vestibular nerve connecting the brain to the ear. The vestibular nerve is responsible for hearing and balance or equilibrium. It typically begins in the transition zones between the central and peripheral nervous system. If acoustic neuromas grow large enough they can put pressure on facial nerves cause facial pain or weakness. They are generally unilateral. Symptoms may include imbalance, vertigo, ringing in the ears, hearing loss in one ear, and facial pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling.
Acoustic Neuroma Treatment Results
Before and after images of patients we treated with Acoustic Neuroma.
Trigeminal Nerve Schwannoma
Trigeminal Nerve Schwannoma is a type of schwannoma tumor that grows on the trigeminal nerve, which is the largest cranial nerve. Not to be confused with trigeminal neuralgia, which causes intense facial pain, the symptoms of trigeminal nerve schwannomas are generally less severe (facial tingling or numbness) or asymptomatic (does not cause symptoms). For this reason, trigeminal nerve schwannomas tend to goes undiagnosed and is usually an incidental finding. It may also extend to the 6th, 7th, and 8th cranial nerves causing problems with eye movement, facial expression, hearing, and balance.
A meningioma develops on the brain’s meninges and is a tumor of leptomeningeal origin. The meninges are the three layers of membrane that cover the brain and spinal cord. The three layersare known as the dura mater, the arachnoid mater, and the pia mater.
Layers of the Meninges
Layers of the Meninges
Meningiomas are one of the most common forms of brain tumors, accounting for roughly 20% of brain tumors. They commonly form in areas populated with heavy amounts of arachnoid villi (located in the second layer which covers the brain).
It is believed that they may be caused by a genetic abnormality or chromosomal defects (e.g. partially or completely missing chromosome 22), however, other studies show that meningiomas reacts to hormonal changes or trauma. Ultimately, we aren't sure the cause of these tumors nor do we have any evidence of them being hereditary. Although interestingly, multiple meningiomas are one of the criteria for NF2 diagnosis (Neurofibromatosis Type 2) which has been proven to be hereditary.
They grow on the surface of the brain, rather than within it, the brain is pushed away from the tumor. Depending on the location of the meningioma symptoms may include changes in vision, headaches, and seizures, amongst others. Although it's usually a slow growing tumor, treatment of a meningioma is crucial since it can still compress vital areas of the brain.
Meningiomas are found most frequently in patients with age ranges of 50 and 60 although they can develop in younger and older adults and children. Females with meningiomas in the age group of 50 and 60 outnumber males 2:1. In children and older adults the difference in ratio due to gender diminishes and evens out with a 1:1 ratio.
Most common forms of treatment include resection of the tumor as well as radiosurgery, however, the course of action depends on the resectability of the tumor, age, and overall health of the patient.
- Grade I meningioma: this is the most common form and is slow-growing with a good prognosis.
- Grade II meningioma: although this is slow-growing, it may return after treatment.
- Grade III meningioma (Anaplastic meningioma): this faster growing form often recurs after treatment difficult to treat but is very rare.
This is a group of soft-tissue sarcomas, this type of tumor occurs in the pericytes - cells that line the capillaries. It is also considered a leptomeningeal tumor (like meningiomas) but its behavior varies greatly from meningiomas. For example, they are detected with more frequency in males than females and the onset of symptoms is much sooner. The response to resection varies as well, since meningiomas respond very well to resections while hemangiopericytomas have a tendency to grow back even after a complete resection.
Hemangiopericytomas can originate anywhere in the body, but are most common in the brain. They can be either benign or malignant. Though this type of tumor is rare, it can occur in the sinuses or nasal cavity, where it tends to be less aggressive. Fatigue and weight-loss are the most common symptoms.
Medulloblastoma is one of the most common childhood forms of brain cancer, accounting for 15-20% of childhood brain tumors. This tumor is malignant and fast growing (grade IV). It occurs in the cerebellum at the base of the brain (the posterior fossa). It arises in immature cells as they are just beginning to develop. Medulloblastoma can spread to other parts of the body including the bone marrow and bones. The prognosis of Medulloblastoma is reserved depending on the speed of cell replication, location, and response to treatment. Symptoms include nausea and/or vomiting, vision problems, and problems with motor skills.
Pituitary Tumors (Pituitary Adenomas)
This type of tumor occurs in the anterior body of the pituitary gland. This is a pea-sized gland that is located behind the bridge of your nose. It produces hormones that help to regulate the functions of the other endocrine glands. Pituitary tumors can affect the function of the pituitary gland in two different ways:
- Increasing the production of regulatory hormones
- Reducing the production of regulatory hormones
The Pituitary Gland
Microadenomas (pituitary tumors that are smaller than 10mm in diameter) are usually detected quickly because they increase the production of regulatory hormones. Pituitary tumors that secrete ACTH or growth hormones can cause acromegaly or cushing’s syndrome. Although extremely rare, pituitary tumors can also produce thyroid stimulating hormones.
Larger pituitary tumors, known as macroadenomas (larger than 10mm in diameter) are typically discovered because they put pressure on the brain and cranial nerves. Symptoms may include vision problems, mood changes, fatigue, and vertigo. Visual field tests are recommended for these patients to monitor the effect of the tumor on the person's vision.
Pituitary tumors are successfully treated with radiosurgery or transphenoidal resection of the tumor. Pituitary tumors are slow growing tumors however they can still wreak havoc on the patient's life if untreated.