Types of brain tumour

There are over 130 different types of primary brain tumours. The various types of brain tumour also differ based on where in the brain they are commonly found and who they affect most (adults or children).

Knowing your tumour's type can therefore help you understand your condition . The information we provide is aimed at explaining everything you might need to know about the specific tumour type affecting you or your loved one.

Adult brain tumour types Child brain tumour types

We have divided the types into those which occur most commonly in adults and those which occur most commonly in children. However, any brain tumour type can affect both adults and children.

Adult brain tumours

Brain tumours can differ in terms of the cells they originate from, how quickly they are likely to grow and spread, and the part of the brain they affect.

As a general rule, brain tumours are named according to the type of cell they start from and/or where in the brain they are located.

These tumours most commonly occur in adults, but they can also affect children.


Key information about glioblastoma (GBM), the most common primary brain tumour in adults.


Learn more about astrocytomas, the most common type of brain tumour within the group of tumours called gliomas.

Pituitary adenoma

Find out about pituitary adenonas, tumours that develop from the tissue of the pituitary gland.

Acoustic neuroma (vestibular schwannoma)

Get facts about acoustic neuroma (also known as a vestibular schwannoma), a low grade brain tumour.


Meningioma is a tumour that begins in the membranes that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord. Read more.


Learn about oligodendrogliomas, the third most common glioma, accounting for 2-5% of all primary brain tumours.


Discover more about this tumour type, which grows from blood vessel cells.

CNS lymphoma

Find out more about CNS lymphoma, caused by the uncontrolled growth of the lymph cells.

Unspecified glioma

Details of tumours where it is unknown what cell they contain, or they contain more than one type of cell.

Child brain tumours

The information we provide is aimed at explaining everything you might need to know about specific brain tumour types that can affect children. For example, you can find out about the short and long-term side-effects that might be experienced from the tumour, or the type of treatment children are likely to receive for specific tumour types.

These tumours most commonly occur in children, but they can also affect adults.


The second most common of all brain tumours in children, and the most common high grade tumour in children.

DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma)

Fast growing, high grade brain tumours that originate in the part of the brain stem called the pons.


Tumours which grow from cells lining the ventricles (spaces) in the brain that help to produce the cerebro-spinal fluid.


Tumours which grow near the base of the brain on the stalk of the pituitary gland.

Embryonal tumours

Previously known as PNETs, embryonal tumours grow from cells left over from when we were growing in our mother's womb.


Tumours which develop from primitive cells in the pineal region at the base of the brain above the pituitary gland.

Brainstem glioma

A tumour that grows in the brain stem, which is responsible for body functions we don't normally think about, e.g. breathing.

Choroid plexus carcinoma

A tumour within the ventricles (spaces) in the brain.

Germ cell tumours

Tumours that develop from germ cells - cells that become the reproductive system during our growth in the womb.

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