Neurosurgery. 1993 Apr;32(4):643-57. doi: 10.1227/00006123-199304000-00023.


This article reviews the recent literature on the pathogenesis and pathology of meningiomas, contemporary techniques of surgical resection, and new nonsurgical treatments, including radiation and hormone therapy. Factors predisposing to meningioma formation include female sex, previous ionizing radiation, and Type 2 neurofibromatosis. The first factor may act through the expression of sex hormone receptors, especially the progesterone receptor, in these tumors; the other two probably act by causing a deletion on Chromosome 22. The pathological classifications of meningiomas include the traditional division into histological subtypes and the World Health Organization classification that selects characteristics that may lead to recurrence. There is an increasing emphasis on proliferative indices and other characteristics that may predict aggressive behavior in these tumors. On computed tomography, meningiomas are enhancing, well-marginated, dural-based lesions that may have considerable surrounding edema; the cause of the edema is uncertain but may result from secretory products of the tumor. Magnetic resonance imaging with enhancement will demonstrate these lesions accurately and can be used for three-dimensional reconstruction as well. Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging have largely replaced angiography in the preoperative diagnosis of meningiomas, but angiographic embolization may be a useful operative adjunct. Although meningioma surgery is sometimes thought of as benign and curative, the reported surgical mortality rate is as high as 14.3% and the reported 10-year survival rate after surgery varies from 43 to 77%. Surgery has advanced most in the management of suprasellar, cavernous sinus, clivus, tentorial, and posterior fossa meningiomas, because new approaches and a better understanding of anatomy have allowed more radical resection. There is still substantial morbidity associated with surgery in these regions, however, and the long-term recurrence rates are still unknown for these new radical techniques. For convexity, parasagittal, lateral sphenoid wing, and olfactory groove meningiomas, complete resection should be the goal and operative morbidity appears to be low. There is a high recurrence rate after surgery. With apparent total removal, the recurrence rate varies from 9 to 20% at 10 years, with subtotal resection varying from 18.4 to 50%. The degree of resection appears to be most important in recurrence, but histopathological features are also important. Recently, radiation therapy has been recognized as a useful adjunct to surgery, and with radiosurgical techniques may become more important in the future. Antiprogesterone therapy appears to have had some success as well, and it or other hormonal therapy may be another future option for residual or recurrent meningiomas.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Meningioma* / diagnosis
  • Meningioma* / pathology
  • Meningioma* / therapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Neurosurgery / methods
  • Postoperative Complications