Experts at the University of Chicago Medicine Brain Tumor Center offer the full range of treatment options for patients with non-malignant (benign) and malignant (primary and metastatic) tumors of the brain and spinal cord. Our physician team has extensive experience in the management of common and rare brain tumors, such as:

Glioma, including:

  • Astrocytoma
    • Glioblastoma (GBM)
    • Anaplastic astrocytoma
    • Low grade (fibrillary) astrocytoma
    • Pilocytic astrocytoma
  • Oligodendroglioma and anaplastic oligodendroglioma
    • Oligoastrocytoma

Ependymoma

Hemangioblastoma, with specialized expertise in von Hippel-Lindau disease

Meningioma

Primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNETs)

  • Atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (ATRT)
  • Medulloblastoma
  • Supratentorial PNETs

Pituitary adenoma

Craniopharyngioma

Schwannoma

Neurofibromas

Ganglioglioma

With the latest medical advances, patients have a wide range of options for brain tumor treatment, including:

Today, innovative, high-precision surgical techniques and tools enable UChicago Medicine neurosurgeons to operate on deep brain tumors once considered inoperable.

Some of theses newer techniques and tools include:

  • Innovative minimally invasive neurosurgery, which offers shorter recovery times and fewer complications than traditional surgery. For example, surgeons may treat tumors using endoscopic techniques — operating through a small incision using thin tubes — to protect and retract delicate tissues while providing an unimpeded avenue to tumors.
  • Image-guided, minimally invasive laser ablation for superficial and deep-seated tumors, enabling destruction of the tumor while preserving the surrounding brain tissue
  • Computerized neuro-navigation systems, allowing greater accuracy during procedures to remove abnormal tissues and greater preservation of healthy tissues
  • Skull-base surgical techniques, enabling neurosurgeons to operate on tumors located near the base of the skull without destroying vital brain and brain-stem functions
  • Minimally invasive, as well as electrophysiologic and image-guided, spinal neurosurgery for removing tumors of the spine and spinal cord
  • The full range of conventional and complex open skull and spine surgeries to treat tumors, brain and spinal cord swelling, seizures and other conditions

Even when surgery appears to have removed a malignant tumor, radiation therapy is often recommended to ensure destruction of any cancer cells that might remain. For benign tumors, radiation therapy may be used to slow or halt tumor growth or to treat a recurring tumor.

At the UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center, adults and children with brain tumors have access to the most sophisticated radiation treatment technologies. This includes innovative image-guided radiation treatment devices. This image-guided radiotherapy technology allows doctors to choose from several different types of radiation treatment techniques. Some of the advanced radiation options available include:

  • Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), which uses highly accurate positioning systems and 3-D imaging to map the locations of the tumor and surrounding anatomy with precision. Without any incision, doctors can accurately target a high-dose radiation beam directly on the tumor that can cause it to shrink or even disappear. With our advanced technology, even very small lesions can be treated with SRS.
  • Intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), a precise form of three-dimensional radiotherapy, which uses computers and multiple beams to "shape" radiation to the treatment area. IMRT allows doctors to "turn up" the radiation dose on tumor areas while excluding sensitive regions, such as the brain stem and spinal cord.
  • Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT). UChicago Medicine was one of the first hospitals in the country to provide IGRT — advanced imaging and treatment technology combined to more precisely identify a tumor’s position, ensuring the accurate delivery of radiation dose to the tumor.

Our multi-modal system can be used to treat non-malignant (benign) and malignant (cancerous) brain tumors, as well as other neurological conditions, such as arteriovenous malformations (AVM) and trigeminal neuralgia.

Our brain tumor experts may recommend systemic therapy as an effective cancer treatment strategy. With systemic therapies, medication is delivered via the bloodstream to destroy and prevent the growth, spread or recurrence of cancer cells throughout the body. Individualized brain tumor treatment plans may include some form of systemic therapy, such as: