Brain Tumour Grades and Types

If you have had a biopsy or surgery to remove a brain tumour, samples of the tumour are tested to find out more, about the type and grade of the tumour.  This is carried out by our histopathology’s team.

These tests give our team information about how the tumour may develop and grow, helping the team to plan the best treatment.


  • Grades 1 and 2 are low-grade and grow slowly
  • Grades 3 and 4 are high grade and grow more quickly

Types of brain tumour

There are many different types of brain tumour, they are often named after the cell they develop from or the part of the brain they start in.  We haven’t list them all, but below is a list of some of them.

Benign (not cancer) Brain Tumours -

  • Meningioma
  • Astrocytoma
  • Ependymoma
  • Vestibular Schwannomas
  • Haemangioblastoma
  • Pineal region tumours
  • Pituitary gland tumours
  • Craniopharyngioma

Malignant (cancerous) Brain Tumours

  • Glioblastoma
  • Astrocytoma
  • Oligodendroglioma
  • Primary central nervous system lymphoma
  • Medulloblastoma
  • Metastasis

Benign – brain tumours usually grow slowly and may not cause symptoms for a long time.  They are very unlikely to spread but they can cause problems as they grow and press on nearby areas of the brain.  Some benign brain tumours do not come back after treatment but others may, and will need further treatment.  Sometimes a benign brain tumour can change over time and become malignant.

Malignant – brain tumours grow faster than benign tumours.  They cause problems by spreading into and damaging nearby areas of the brain.  Some tumours may spread to other parts of the brain or the spinal cord.  They very rarely spread to other parts of the body.  Malignant brain tumours are more likely to come back after treatment.

Image of cells forming a tumour (source: Macmillan)



How to Identify a Brain Tumour

Do you know the signs and symptoms of a brain tumour? If you are unsure you can watch this quick video to help you understand:

Do you know the signs & symptoms of a brain tumour? | Headsmart | Understanding Brain Tumours - YouTube

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