Common Brain Tumor Locations
Last Updated: March 27, 2023
Brain tumors can develop anywhere in the brain, but some locations are more common than others. Determining the location of a brain tumor is important to patients and doctors because it can explain patient symptoms, help determine best treatment strategies, and influence prognosis. Here we’ll discuss where brain tumors are most often found and how locations differ between adults and children.
Where Are Brain Tumors Most Commonly Found?
The location of a brain tumor is often described in relation to its position above or below the tentorium. The tentorium is a tough, fibrous membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord located in the cranial cavity. It acts as a separator between the cerebrum (the largest part of the brain that controls conscious activities) and the cerebellum (the part of the brain that controls coordination and balance).
In adults, brain tumors are commonly found to be supratentorial, or above the tentorium. However, in children, brain tumors are typically found to be infratentorial, or below the tentorium.
Below is a list of the most common brain tumor locations:
- Cerebellum: Located at the base of the brain, it controls coordination and balance.
- Brainstem: Located between the spinal cord and rest of the brain, it connects the spinal cord to the brain.
- Frontal lobe: Located in the front of the brain, it is responsible for movement, problem-solving, and decision-making.
- Temporal lobe: Located at the side of the brain, near the ears, this part is responsible for hearing and memory.
- Parietal lobe: Located in the middle of the brain, it controls sensation, perception, and spatial awareness.
- Occipital lobe: Located at the back of the brain, it is responsible for vision.
Metastatic tumors, or tumors that originate in a different part of the body, can spread to the brain. They can be found in any of the common locations listed above. Metastatic tumors are the most common kind of brain tumors, accounting for approximately 50% of all brain tumors.
Most Common Brain Tumor Locations in Adults
In adults, meningiomas are the most common type of primary brain tumor (that is, a tumor that develops in the brain), comprising 39% of all brain tumors and 55% of all benign (or noncancerous) brain tumors. Meningiomas originate in the meninges, which is a protective layer covering the brain and spinal cord.
The second most common benign brain tumors in adults are pituitary and craniopharyngeal duct tumors, accounting for about 25% of benign brain tumors. Pituitary tumors are tumors that grow out from the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain. The craniopharyngeal duct is a small canal that connects the pituitary gland to the brain; these tumors are noncancerous growths that develop from remnants of an embryonic structure that normally disappears before birth.
Glioblastoma is an aggressive malignant astrocytoma. They are usually found in the cerebral hemispheres, which are the largest and most complex parts of the brain and are responsible for many of the brain's functions, such as movement, sensation, speech, and vision. Glioblastomas can occur anywhere in the cerebral hemispheres but are most often found in the frontal and temporal lobes. They can also occur in the brainstem, which is the part of the brain that controls many of the body's automatic functions, such as heart rate and breathing. Glioblastomas can spread rapidly and invade surrounding brain tissue, making them difficult to treat.
Table 1 lists the common brain tumor locations in young adults versus those 40 and older.
|Adults 19 - 39|
|Pituitary and craniopharyngeal duct||37.1%|
|Adults 40 and older|
|Pituitary and craniopharyngeal duct||18.1%|
Most Common Brain Tumor Locations in Children
Pilocytic astrocytoma is the most common brain tumor in children, accounting for 15.2% of all brain tumors in children younger than 14 years of age. These are often present in the cerebellar region and are more commonly associated with a good prognosis.
Two other types of brain tumors in children are medulloblastomas and brainstem gliomas; both are found in or near the brainstem. An ependymoma is another brain tumor found in children that originates from ependymal cells that line the ventricles, which are the fluid-filled spaces in the brain.
|Children 0 - 14|
|Other brain areas||13.1%|
|Children 15 - 19|
|Pituitary and craniopharyngeal duct||35.7%|
|Other brain areas||7.6%|
Most Common Meningioma Locations
As mentioned earlier, meningioma is the most common type of primary brain tumor, accounting for 39% of all brain tumors and 55% of all benign brain tumors. Meningiomas originate in the meninges and are commonly found on the surface of the brain. These tumors are typically easier to remove surgically than deeper tumors. Table 3 includes the most common meningioma locations.
Falx and parasagittal (located in the intracranial cavity, which is the space inside the skull that contains the brain
|Convexity (located on the outer surface of the brain and is composed of the frontal, temporal, and parietal lobes)||20%|
Sphenoid wing (located near the base of the brain)
Olfactory groove (located in the frontal lobe near the base of the skull)
Suprasellar (located in the central part of the brain near the base of the skull)
Posterior fossa (located at the base of the skull behind the cerebral hemispheres)
Intraventricular (a series of fluid-filled cavities located within the brain)
Intraorbital (area around the sockets in the skull that house the eyes)
- Brain tumors can develop anywhere in the brain, but some locations are more common than others.
- Determining the location of a brain tumor is important to patients and doctors because it can explain symptoms, help determine best treatment strategies, and influence prognosis.
- Adult brain tumors are commonly found above the tentorium (supratentorial), whereas brain tumors in children are often found below the tentorium (infratentorial).
- The most common locations for brain tumors in adults are the meninges, pituitary gland, craniopharyngeal duct, and frontal and temporal lobes.
- In children, brain tumors are found most often in the cerebellum and brainstem.
- Meningioma is the most common primary brain tumor in adults; these tumors are commonly found on the surface of the brain, which makes them easier to remove surgically than tumors found deeper in the brain.