Skip to main content

Choroid Plexus Tumor

What is a Choroid Plexus Tumor?

A choroid plexus tumor is a rare type of brain tumor that causes excess fluid in the brain, compressing brain tissue and increasing intracranial pressure. The buildup of cerebrospinal fluid, called hydrocephalus, can even cause the skull to enlarge. As a result, patients may experience headaches, nausea, lethargy, and irritability. Roughly 90% of choroid plexus tumors are slow-growing, benign tumors, called papilloma. The remainder are choroid plexus carcinoma, a rare cancerous tumor that can overtake brain tissue and is more common in young children. Surgery is almost always the preferred treatment, and the prognosis will depend on whether the tumor is removed its entirety.

Causes of Choroid Plexus Tumors

The cause of these tumors is unknown, but genetic changes have been linked to the formation of some choroid plexus tumors. They are very rare among adults, and most frequently diagnosed in the first year of life.

Symptoms of Choroid Plexus Tumors

Tumors along the choroid plexus can block the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid, leading to hydrocephalus and increased intracranial pressure. The headaches may be most severe in the morning and may lessen as the day progresses. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, irritability, vision changes, fatigue, and seizures.

Diagnosis of Choroid Plexus Tumors

Your doctor will discuss your symptoms and conduct a complete physical exam. A neurological exam, including an MRI or CT scan, likely with contrast enhancement, will also be ordered. Choroid plexus tumors are usually seen in the ventricles of the brain with irregular borders and a “cauliflower-like” appearance. Swelling and hydrocephalus might also be visible.

Treatment of Choroid Plexus Tumors

Surgery is the most common treatment for choroid plexus tumors. Surgical treatments include craniotomy and endoscopic craniotomy. In a craniotomy, the neurosurgeon temporarily removes a piece of skull bone to obtain access to remove the tumor from the brain. Most patients with choroid plexus papilloma won’t need any further treatment if the tumor is removed completely. Some patients may have a shunt inserted to drain extra fluid.

In roughly 15% of choroid plexus carcinomas cases, the entire tumor cannot be removed because healthy tissue would be harmed. After surgery, chemotherapy or radiation may be ordered to target any remaining cancer cells.

What you can expect at UTHealth Houston Neurosciences

UTHealth Houston Neurosciences brings together a multidisciplinary team of board-certified, fellowship-trained neurosurgeons, neurologists, researchers, and pain management specialists to help provide relief for even the most complex problems. Your team will share insights, leading to better treatment decisions and outcomes. You will receive expert care, excellent communication, and genuine compassion. We first investigate nonsurgical treatment options, including medical management, pain management, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and watchful waiting. When surgery is needed, our neurosurgeons routinely employ innovative minimally invasive techniques. Throughout the treatment process, we will work closely with the doctor who referred you to ensure a smooth transition back to your regular care. While you are with us, you will receive expert care, excellent communication, and genuine compassion.

Brain Tumor Types

Acoustic neuroma
Arachnoid Cyst
Brain metastases
Choroid plexus tumor
Facts about brain tumors
Gamma Knife Radiosurgery
Germ cell tumor
Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM)
Malignant meningioma
Pituitary adenoma and Cushing’s syndrome
Pituitary tumor
Skull base tumor

Contact Us

At UTHealth Houston Neurosciences, we offer patients access to specialized neurological care at clinics across the greater Houston area. To ask us a question, schedule an appointment, or learn more about us, please call (713) 486-8000, or click below to send us a message. In the event of an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.