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UCLA’s depth of expertise with meningiomas includes a dedicated meningioma research lab and world-class meningioma experts. This enables us to offer comprehensive care and treatment, even for large or complex tumors.
What is a Meningioma?
Meningiomas form in the layer of tissue that protects your brain and spine (the meninges). These tumors are commonly found near the top and outer curve of your brain.
Most meningiomas are noncancerous (benign) and treatable with surgery. But meningiomas can also pose certain risks:
- Growing additional meningiomas: Meningiomas can come back, despite the best available treatment. Such a return happens in as many as one in five patients.
- Life-threatening complications: When tumors become large, they can push on your brain or spinal cord. This pressure can affect your ability to perform basic tasks, such as walking.
What Causes Meningiomas?
We don’t know exactly what causes meningiomas. However, our research partner, House Clinic, is learning more about the genetic deformity that’s present in people with meningiomas. This information is helping us learn more about how meningiomas develop.
Your symptoms depend on the size and location of the meningioma.
Symptoms may include:
- Chronic headache
- Weakness or paralysis in your arms or legs
- Sudden surge in the electrical patterns in your brain (seizure)
- Behavior or personality changes
- Memory problems
- Speech problems
- Unsteadiness and lack of coordination
A meningioma may become quite large before you notice symptoms.
Different types of brain tumors can cause similar symptoms. Some people experience symptoms similar to a brain tumor when in fact they are experiencing a central nervous system disorder, such as a stroke. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s best to visit the UCLA Neurology Clinics so you can receive an accurate diagnosis.
You may receive one or more tests, including:
- Neurological exam: This exam includes tests to assess your nerves, senses and mental state. This exam helps us rule out other central nervous system problems, such as a stroke.
- Imaging tests: In addition to performing detailed imaging scans, we also use special techniques (post processing) to analyze the tumor. Doing so helps us predict how quickly the tumor is growing and how it may respond to certain treatments.
- Advanced tissue analysis: We conduct an exhaustive analysis of the tumor tissue. This analysis helps us understand the unique characteristics of the tumor. It also helps us determine whether you are eligible for experimental treatments available through clinical trials.
Learn more about diagnosis and imaging.
Meningioma Treatments Available at the UCLA Brain Tumor Center
Because meningiomas grow slowly, you may not need treatment right away. We carefully monitor your condition through regular imaging tests. If the meningioma grows large enough to put pressure on your brain or spinal cord, we deliver treatments right away.
You may receive one or more types of treatment:
- Clinical trials: Patients at UCLA have access to the latest meningioma treatments. Options may include experimental therapies we are developing through research and clinical trials.
- Radiation therapy: We use the best available technology, such as intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). This approach helps us successfully treat tumors that have been resistant to other treatments. Learn more about our radiation oncology.
- Neurosurgery: Depending on the size and location of the tumor, you may be able to have minimally invasive neurosurgery. These surgeries include safer, less invasive techniques, such as keyhole surgery and the endoscopic endonasal approach.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses medications (agents) in different combinations to slow or stop tumor cells from growing. At UCLA, dedicated specialists (neuro oncologists) deliver chemotherapy treatments.
Our oncologists, radiation oncologists and neurosurgeon work side-by-side to determine and deliver the best treatments for the tumor. Meet our team.
Call us at (310) 825-5111 or send an email to [email protected] to request more information or make an appointment.
You can also search our physician directory.