Background: Meningiomas are predominantly tumors of the fifth and sixth decades of life. Although rare in infancy and childhood, they represent an important field in pediatric neurosurgery.
Methods: Twenty-nine children under 15 years of age with intracranial meningiomas were treated during the period 1968-1994 in the Department of Pediatric Neurosurgery in Marseille (23 cases) and in the Department of Neurosurgery of Cerrahpaşa Medical School in Istanbul (6 cases). These tumors represented 2.4% of all central nervous system (CNS) tumors in this age group.
Results: There were 18 boys and 11 girls. Eighteen cases (62%) occurred between 10 and 15 years of age and two cases were infants. Twelve children (41%) had associated neurofibromatosis. Presenting symptoms were related to the tumor location. Thirty-one intracranial meningiomas were observed in these 29 children. Cerebral convexity was the most common location and 13% of the tumors had no dural attachment. Thirty-one tumors were operated on and total removal was achieved in 25 patients (86.2%). Five patients died, one during surgery. There was no mortality among the 17 children without neurofibromatosis. After a mean 6.5 year follow-up period, 13 patients (45%) are neurologically intact, 8 patients (27.5%) have a moderate disability, without evidence of tumor recurrence.
Conclusion: Childhood meningiomas occur predominantly in males. Absence of dural attachment is more common in children than in adults. Childhood meningiomas have a low recurrence rate. They are frequently associated with neurofibromatosis; this is the most important factor influencing outcome.