Brain Tumors

Each year, about 17,000 new cases of primary malignant brain tumors are diagnosed (Cancer Facts and Figures 2002). In addition, it is estimated that between 100,000 and 150,000 metastatic brain tumors are diagnosed in the United States each year (Newton 2002). In children, approximately 3,100 benign and malignant brain tumors were diagnosed in 2002 making brain tumors the second most common cancer of childhood (CBTRUS 2002). Primary malignant brain tumors claimed about 13,100 lives in 2002 (Cancer Facts and Figures 2002).

Although medical science has not identified the cause of brain tumors, studies are underway to identify possible sources. These sources include exposure to certain viruses, exposure to chemicals, and factors related to heredity.

Brain tumors are considered either primary or metastatic. Primary brain tumors originate in the brain, while metastatic brain tumors start in another part of the body and spread to the brain.

Tumors of the central nervous system (CNS) may involve the brain, cerebrospinal fluid (fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord), and/or the spinal cord.

People with brain tumors may experience a wide range of symptoms depending on factors such as the tumor type, size, and location.

At OHSU many different kinds of brain tumors are treated. These include CNS lymphoma; primitive neuro-ectodermal tumors (PNETs); germ cell tumors; gliomas, which include astrocytoma, anaplastic astrocytoma, oligodendroglioma, anaplastic oligodendroglioma, glioblastoma multiforme and brain stem glioma; and metastatic tumors, which include breast, ovarian, small cell lung, and adenocarcinoma that have metastasized from an unknown primary site.

CT scan of a 37-year-old man with primary CNS lymphoma diagnosed in 1982

CT scan of primary CNS lymphoma

CT scan of brain after treatment with blood-brain barrier disruption chemotherapy

CT scan after treatment with BBBD chemotherapy

CT scan showing no evidence of enhancing tumor after completion of blood brain barrior disruption treatment 

This patient is still doing well as a 20 year survivor of BBBD.

CT scan after completion of BBBD treatment