Childhood brain and spinal tumours

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Choroid plexus tumours

Choroid plexus tumours start in the part of the brain called the choroid plexus. The choroid plexus is a small organ in the ventricles of the brain that makes cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

Children with choroid plexus tumours commonly have a buildup of CSF (hydrocephalus), which causes increased pressure on the brain and an increase in skull size.


Choroid plexus tumours are graded from I to III.

  • A grade I tumour is a non-cancerous (benign) tumour. It is called a choroid plexus papilloma.
  • A grade II tumour is called an atypical choroid plexus papilloma.
  • A grade III tumour is a cancerous (malignant) tumour. It is called a choroid plexus carcinoma.

Recurrent choroid plexus carcinomas are tumours that have come back after treatment.

Treatment of choroid plexus tumours

Surgery is the most common treatment used for choroid plexus tumours. Surgery may be the only treatment used if the tumour can be completely removed. If the tumour can’t be completely removed, radiation therapy or chemotherapy may be used. Surgery may also be used to relieve a buildup of CSF.

Radiation therapy may be used if surgery is not possible or if the tumour can’t be completely removed with surgery.

Chemotherapy may be used after surgery. The most common chemotherapy combination used to treat choroid plexus carcinoma is ifosfamide (Ifex), carboplatin (Paraplatin, Paraplatin AQ) and etoposide (Vepesid, VP-16).

Treatment of recurrent choroid plexus tumours

Surgery may be used to remove recurrent choroid plexus tumours. Radiation therapy or chemotherapy or both may be used after surgery, depending on what was used to treat the tumour before.

Clinical trials

Many children with choroid plexus tumours are treated in a clinical trial. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, find and treat cancer.Find out more about clinical trials.


Dr Shawn Li I’m extremely grateful to the Canadian Cancer Society for funding my research with an Innovation Grant.

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