Choroid plexus tumors are rare tumors found in the brain tissue called choroid plexus, which produces cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a liquid that cushions and protects the brain and spinal cord from damage. These tumors block the flow of CSF and lead to its build-up, causing a condition called hydrocephalus. Choroid plexus tumors are of two types: papilloma (non-cancerous) and carcinomas (cancerous). The exact cause of choroid plexus tumors is not clear, but carcinomas are usually associated with the inherited disease Li-Fraumani Tumour predisposition syndrome. It develops primarily in infants or toddlers.

Common symptoms of choroid plexus tumors include headache, sporadic weakness of the arms or legs and vomiting. Papilloma tumors are diagnosed by their location and characteristic appearance on an MRI scan of the brain. Carcinomas are confirmed after removing the tissue and examining it.

Treatment involves surgical removal, chemotherapy and radiation therapy and depends on the type of tumour. Surgery is considered to be the most effective treatment for papilloma type of choroid plexus tumour. For choroid plexus carcinomas, surgery is found to improve outcome if complete removal of the tumour is possible. However, when surgery cannot remove the whole tumour, chemotherapy is administered. Radiation therapy is reserved for patients who do not respond well to chemotherapy or when there is recurrence of the tumour after initial treatment.

Useful Links

  • American Association of Neurological Surgeons
  • American Board of Neurological Surgery
  • American Medical Association
  • The Congress of Neurological Surgeons
  • College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland & Labrador
  • North American Skull Base Society
  • North American Spine Society