The key difference between meningioma and glioma is that meningioma is a tumor that starts from meninges surrounding the brain and spinal cord, while glioma is a tumor that starts from glial cells in the brain or spinal cord.
The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. The brain consists of four major parts: cerebrum, cerebellum, brain stem, and meninges. The spinal cord has nerves that carry information between the brain and the rest of the body. The central nervous system cancer occurs when healthy cells in the brain or spinal cord change and grow out of control. Meningioma and glioma are two such central nervous system tumors.
What is Meningioma?
Meningioma is a central nervous system tumor that starts from meninges that surround the brain and spinal cord. The membranous layers that surround the brain and spinal cord are known as meninges. Normally, meningioma is the most common type of tumor that forms in the head. Many cases of meningioma never produce symptoms. However, occasionally symptoms such as seizures, dementia, trouble talking, vision problems, weakness in one side of the body, loss of bladder control, memory loss, loss of smell, and headaches may occur. The risk factors are exposure to ionizing radiation during radiation therapy, a family history of this medical condition, neurofibromatosis type 2, female hormones, and obesity.
Meningioma is often very difficult to diagnose as tumors are slow-growing. Typically, to diagnose meningioma, a neurologist will conduct a neurological exam followed by an imaging test with a contrast dye. The imaging test may include CT scans and MRIs. Sometimes, a tissue biopsy may also be needed to rule out other tumor types. Furthermore, if the tumor has started to grow faster, surgery is needed as treatment. If a small piece of the tumor remains after surgery, the doctor may recommend stereotactic radiosurgery. If the tumor is still atypical or malignant after surgery, the doctor may recommend further radiation therapy (fractionated radiotherapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy, proton beam radiation). Chemotherapeutic drugs such as hydroxyurea can also be effective when treating meningioma.
What is Glioma?
Glioma is a central nervous system tumor that starts from glial cells in the brain or spinal cord. Glioma is a common type of brain and spinal cord tumor. It accounts for about 33 % of all brain tumors. Glioma originates from the cells that surround and support neurons in the brain and spinal cord, such as astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and ependymal cells. Different types of gliomas include astrocytoma, brain stem glioma, ependymoma, mixed glioma, oligodendroglioma, and optic pathway glioma. The common symptoms of glioma may include headache, seizures, personality changes, weakness in the arm, face, or leg, numbness, problems with speech, nausea and vomiting, vision loss, and dizziness.
Gliomas are normally more likely to affect men than women and Caucasian people than African American people. Moreover, this medical condition can be diagnosed through physical examination, neurological examination, eye examination, brain scans (CT scan, MRI), and tissue biopsy. The treatments may include surgery (craniotomy), radiation after surgery (external radiation, stereotactic radiosurgery, internal radiation), and chemotherapy (temozolomide, carmustine, bevacizumab, and lomustine).
What are the Similarities Between Meningioma and Glioma?
- Meningioma and glioma are two central nervous system tumors.
- Both tumors affect the brain and spinal cord.
- These tumors are common in adults.
- Both tumors may show similar symptoms.
- They have an inherited predisposition.
- They are treatable conditions through specific surgeries.
What is the Difference Between Meningioma and Glioma?
Meningioma is a tumor that starts from meninges that surround the brain and spinal cord, while glioma is a tumor that starts from glial cells in the brain or spinal cord. Thus, this is the key difference between meningioma and glioma. Furthermore, meningioma is a more common brain tumor compared to gliomas.
The below infographic presents the differences between meningioma and glioma in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Meningioma vs Glioma
Meningioma and glioma are two central nervous system tumors. Meningioma is a tumor in the meninges that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, while glioma is a tumor that starts from glial cells in the brain or spinal cord. So, this is the key difference between meningioma and glioma.
1. “Meningioma Diagnosis and Treatment.” National Cancer Institute.
2. “Glioma – American Brain Tumor Association: Learn More.” American Brain Tumor Association.