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Choroid Plexus Tumor

Also called: Atypical choroid plexus papilloma, choroid plexus carcinoma, choroid plexus papilloma

What is a choroid plexus tumor?

Choroid plexus tumors (CPTs) begin in the brain within areas called ventricles that are filled with cerebrospinal fluid. As CPTs grow, they block the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. This can increase pressure on the brain and cause the skull to get bigger.

A CPT may be noncancerous (benign) or cancerous:

  • Choroid plexus papilloma (CPP) and atypical choroid plexus papilloma are both noncancerous and account for the majority of the choroid plexus tumors. These tumors grow slowly and rarely spread to other parts of the brain or spinal cord.
  • Choroid plexus carcinoma (CPC), the cancerous form, grows faster and are much more likely to spread through the cerebrospinal fluid and invade nearby tissue.

How common are choroid plexus tumors?

Overall, choroid plexus tumors are rare and represent only about 3% of brain tumors in children.

They are most common in infants but can occur at any age. Choroid plexus tumors account for 10 to 20 percent of brain tumors diagnosed in children from birth to one year of age.

Choroid plexus papillomas (CPP) account for about 80% of all choroid plexus tumors.

Choroid plexus carcinomas (CPC) account for 10% to 20% of childhood choroid plexus tumors.

What are the symptoms of choroid plexus tumors?

CPT symptoms vary depending on the tumor’s location and size and the patient’s age. If your child has a CPT, symptoms may include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting (that are worse in the morning and improve as the day goes on)
  • Feeling irritable and decreased energy

An infant or toddler with CPT may have trouble feeding or walking. The child’s fontanel (the “soft spot” at the top of the skull) may also become fuller.

How are choroid plexus tumors treated?

  • Surgery — is the most common form of CPT treatment except in patients who should not have surgery because of their age or health or because of the tumor’s location. The goal of surgery is remove as much of the tumor as possible.
    • Most patients with choroid plexus papilloma will need no further treatment after the tumor is removed completely. Other patients may have a shunt (tube) inserted to drain extra fluid.
    • Children with choroid plexus carcinoma undergo surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible. These patients often need more treatment with chemotherapy and radiation to kill cancer cells that remain after surgery.
  • Chemotherapy (“chemo”) — uses powerful medicines to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing (dividing) and making more cancer cells.
    • Chemo may be injected into the bloodstream, so that it can travel throughout the body.
    • Some chemo may be given by mouth.
    • Combination therapy uses more than one type of chemo at a time.
  • Radiation therapy — uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing:
    • External radiation uses machines outside the body to deliver the X-ray dose.

Why choose St. Jude for your child’s choroid plexus tumor treatment?

  • St. Jude has one of the largest pediatric brain tumor programs in the country.
  • The St. Jude staff is dedicated to treating children who have serious illnesses. Here, you will find a hospital and staff that has only one focus—your child.
  • St. Jude is committed to not only finding cures, but also helping children hold on to their quality of life. Children are not just small people. Their bodies and systems are unique, along with the disorders that affect them. For the best care, they need a specialized team. That is what you get from the St. Jude Brain Tumor Program.
  • By working closely with the pediatric neurosurgeons at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, the St. Jude Brain Tumor Program offers an expert team of doctors from many medical fields. The team includes: neuro-oncologists, who study and treat cancer in the brain and nervous system; neurosurgeons, who operate on the brain, skull, scalp and spinal cord; and radiation oncologists, who treat cancer with radiation. All of these doctors have devoted their careers to finding cures and providing treatment for children with brain tumors. This diverse knowledge is vital to the complete care of children with brain tumors.
  • Our brain tumor doctors also work closely with support staff in nursing, rehabilitation services, neuropathology, pharmacy, neuroradiology, neuropsychology, clinical nutrition, child life and social work, along with many others. Support staff members have been specially trained to care for children with pediatric brain tumors.
  • The nurse-to-patient ratio at St. Jude is unmatched— averaging 1:3 in hematology and oncology, and 1:1 in the Intensive Care Unit.
  • The St. Jude Brain Tumor Program has made great advances in treatments for brain tumor patients. Some of the world’s best neuroscientists, cancer biologists and doctors from the St. Jude Neurobiology and Brain Tumor Divisions combine their efforts to seek cures. In this interactive program, discoveries about the biology of both normal and harmful cell growth are rapidly tested in clinic studies. These studies include Phase I, II and III trials of the most common and deadly forms of childhood brain tumors.
  • Being able to take a drug directly from the lab to your child is one of the major advantages of centers like St. Jude. Before treating a patient with any new drug, the St. Jude staff does many tests in the lab. The tests show if the drug is safe, if it works, and the best way to use it to help our patients.
  • St. Jude has created more clinical trials for cancer than any other children’s hospital in the United States.
  • Along with the treatment studies constantly being developing at St. Jude, the staff also treats patients on studies developed by the Children’s Oncology Group, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium and the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium. Many St. Jude staff members play key roles in developing these studies, which are large tests carried out at centers across the United States.
  • St. Jude practices patient family-centered care. Patient family-centered care is health care that focuses on the family as a child’s primary source of strength, support and well-being. At the heart of patient family-centered care is the belief that health care staff and the family are partners, working together to best meet the needs of the child. Excellence in health care happens when we work together and honor the expertise each of us brings to every health care encounter.
  • St. Jude is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children.

Contact the Brain Tumor Team any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Call our Brain Tumor Coordinator, Tabatha E. Doyle, RN:
(901) 595-2544

Or email us at


The St. Jude website is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided through this site should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.