Chondroma is a rare, benign (non-cancerous) tumor that tends to arise at the base of the skull, especially in the area near the pituitary gland. These tumors are generally very slow-growing and may be present for a long time before causing any symptoms. They are made up of cartilage or cartilage-like cells, can grow to a large size, and may occur as a single or as multiple tumors.

The malignant (cancerous) form of chondroma is chondrosarcoma. There are several different types of chondrosarcoma, including conventional, clear cell, mesenchymal, and dedifferentiated. Conventional chondrosarcoma are further subdivided into grade I, grade II, and grade III.


Chondromas are usually attached to the dura mater, which is the outermost layer of the meninges (the covering of the brain). Chondrosarcomas are most commonly found in the sphenoid bone—the bony ridge running along the back of the eyes. They are also often found near the clivus, a bony area at the base of the skull.


Headaches and vision and hearing disturbances are among the most common symptoms of these tumors.


Surgery might be the only treatment required for chondroma. Standard treatment for chondrosarcoma is surgical removal, which may be followed by radiation therapy.


Chondroma and chondrosarcoma are very rare.

Chondrosarcoma is more common in older adult males.

Content last reviewed:

May 2018


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