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Intracranial tumors in adults

Primary intracranial tumors include all tumors above the foramen
magnum that arise from: 
  • brain tissue
  • cerebral membranes
  • cranial nerves
  • pituitary gland

The most common intracranial tumor types for adults are:

  • metastasis
  • glioblastoma
  • meningioma
  • astrocytoma WHO degree II
  • adenoma of pituitary gland
  • Schwannoma  

In adults, primary intracranial tumors account for 3.5 % of all cancer cases. These constitute a very heterogeneous group with large variations in the degree of malignancy, speed of growth and prognosis. Histological diagnosis is therefore crucial for the choice of treatment (1).


The incidence of primary intracranial tumors in Norway is 16 per 100,000 per annum for adults (2,3).

In addition, 20–40 % of all persons who have an extracranial cancer will get one or more brain metastases (4). With increased use of CT and MR imaging, more of these metastases will be detected and treated.

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