Distant metastases in meningioma: an underestimated problem

J Neurooncol. 2013 May;112(3):323-7. doi: 10.1007/s11060-013-1074-x. Epub 2013 Feb 13.


Meningioma is a common intracranial neoplasm derived from meningothelial cells. Meningiomas are associated with a benign clinical course. However, malignant behaviour such as metastatic disease has been also described. Our aim was to analyze the metastatic pattern taking tumor grading into consideration, and to determine clinical signs of distant metastases in meningiomas. In this systematic review PubMed database was screened for distant meningioma metastases from 1990 to 2012. 95 articles were identified. Only cases with metastasized meningiomas were included in the analysis. Our analysis comprised 115 cases with 164 metastatic lesions. Primary tumors were in 33.9 % grade 1, 20.9 % grade 2, and 40 % grade 3. In 5.2 % the grade was not reported. In 93 % meningiomas were diagnosed and resected before distant metastases occurred. In 6.1 % metastases were identified simultaneously with primary tumors and in 0.9 % metastases were identified before the primary tumor was found. The metastatic lesions were localized most frequently in the lung (37.2 %), bones (16.5 %), intraspinally (15.2 %), and in the liver (9.2 %). Other locations were rarer. The size of the metastases varied from 0.6 to 28 cm (median size, 3 cm). There were no significant differences between sizes of the identified metastases in relation to tumor grading. 50.4 % of distant metastases were clinically manifest and 31.3 % were identified incidentally. In 18.3 % clinical signs were missing. In our review 31.3 % of metastatic meningiomas were found to be clinically silent. The prevalence of metastases in meningioma may be underreported.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Meningioma / secondary*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology*
  • Young Adult