Relationship between tumor location, size, and WHO grade in meningioma

Stephen T. Magill*, Jacob S. Young, Ricky Chae, Manish K. Aghi, Philip V. Theodosopoulos, Michael W. McDermott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE Prior studies have investigated preoperative risk factors for meningioma; however, no association has been shown between meningioma tumor size and tumor grade. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between tumor size and grade in a large single-center study of patients undergoing meningioma resection. METHODS A retrospective chart review of patients undergoing meningioma resection at the University of California, San Francisco, between 1985 and 2015 was performed. Patients with incomplete information, spinal meningiomas, multiple meningiomas, or WHO grade III meningiomas were excluded. The largest tumor dimension was used as a surrogate for tumor size. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were used to investigate the relationship between tumor grade and tumor size. A recursive partitioning analysis was performed to identify groups at higher risk for atypical (WHO grade II) meningioma. RESULTS Of the 1113 patients identified, 905 (81%) had a WHO grade I tumor and in 208 (19%) the tumors were WHO grade II. The median largest tumor dimension was 3.6 cm (range 0.2-13 cm). Tumors were distributed as follows: skull base (n = 573, 51%), convexity/falx/parasagittal (n = 431, 39%), and other (n = 109, 10%). On univariate regression, larger tumor size (p < 0.001), convexity/falx/parasagittal location (p < 0.001), and male sex (p < 0.001) were significant predictors of WHO grade II pathology. After controlling for interactions, multivariate regression found male sex (OR 1.74, 95% CI 1.25-2.43), size 3-6 cm (OR 1.69, 95% CI 1.08-2.66), size > 6 cm (OR 3.01, 95% CI 1.53-5.94), and convexity/falx/parasagittal location (OR 1.83, 95% CI 1.19-2.82) to be significantly associated with WHO grade II. Recursive partitioning analysis identified male patients with tumors > 3 cm as a high-risk group (32%) for WHO grade II meningioma. CONCLUSIONS Larger tumor size is associated with a greater likelihood of a meningioma being WHO grade II, independent of tumor location and male sex, which are known risk factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberE4
JournalNeurosurgical focus
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Atypical
  • Convexity
  • Grade
  • Location
  • meningioma
  • Parasagittal
  • Skull base
  • Tumor size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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