Brain Tumor Statistics

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Brain Tumors do not discriminate. Primary brain tumors - those that begin in the brain and tend to stay in the brain - occur in people of all ages, but they are statistically more frequent in children and older adults. Metastatic brain tumors - those that begin as a cancer elsewhere in the body and spread to the brain - are more common in adults than children.


The facts and statistics here include brain and central nervous system tumors (including spinal cord, pituitary and pineal gland tumors). We continually update these statistics, as they become available. This material was last updated in December 2015. We thank the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS) for their assistance. These numbers address incidence, trends and patterns in the United States only. For more information, please visit CBTRUS at www.cbtrus.org.



Brain tumors are the:

  • most common cancer among those age 0-19 (leukemia is the second).
  • second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children (males and females) under age 20 (leukemia is the first).

Brain Tumor Statistics:

  • Nearly 78,000 new cases of primary brain tumors are expected to be diagnosed this year. This figure includes nearly 25,000 primary malignant and 53,000 non-malignant brain tumors.
  • It is estimated that more than 4,600 individuals between the ages of 0-19 will be diagnosed with a primary brain tumor this year.
  • Malignant brain tumors are the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in adolescents and young adults aged 15-39 and the most common cancer occurring among 15-19 year olds.
  • There are nearly 700,000 people in the U.S. living with a primary brain and central nervous system tumor.
  • This year, nearly 17,000 people will lose their battle with a primary malignant and central nervous system brain tumor.
  • There are more than 100 histologically distinct types of primary brain and central nervous system tumors.
  • Survival after diagnosis with a primary brain tumor varies significantly by age, histology, molecular markers and tumor behavior.
  • The median age at diagnosis for all primary brain tumors is 59 years.

Tumor-Specific Statistics:

  • Meningiomas represent 36.4% of all primary brain tumors, making them the most common primary brain tumor.  There will be an estimated 24,880 new cases in 2016.
  • Gliomas, a broad term which includes all tumors arising from the gluey or supportive tissue of the brain, represent 27% of all brain tumors and 80% of all malignant tumors.
  • Glioblastomas represent 15.1% of all primary brain tumors, and 55.1% of all gliomas.
  • Glioblastoma has the highest number of cases of all malignant tumors, with an estimated 12,120 new cases predicted in 2016.
  • Astrocytomas, including glioblastoma, represent approximately 75% of all gliomas.
  • Nerve sheath tumors (such as acoustic neuromas) represent about 8% of all primary brain tumors.
  • Pituitary tumors represent 15.5% of all primary brain tumors. There will be an estimated 11,700 new cases of pituitary tumors in 2016.
  • Lymphomas represent 2% of all primary brain tumors.
  • Oligodendrogliomas represent nearly 2% of all primary brain tumors.
  • Medulloblastomas/embryonal/primitive tumors represent 1% of all primary brain tumors.
  • The majority of primary tumors (36.4%) are located within the meninges.


American Brain Tumor Association Adolescent and Young Adult Primary Brain and Central Nervous System Tumors Diagnosed in the United States was recently published as a supplement to the Society for Neuro-Oncology official journal, Neuro-Oncology

Order a hard copy of the report.