Choroid plexus tumours

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Choroid plexus tumours are a rare type of childhood brain tumour. They start in the choroid plexus, which is a small organ in the ventricles of the brain that makes cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

Children with choroid plexus tumours commonly have a buildup of CSF (called hydrocephalus), which causes increased pressure on the brain and can make the skull larger.


Choroid plexus tumours are given a grade from 1 to 3.

  • A grade 1 tumour is non-cancerous (benign). It is called a choroid plexus papilloma.
  • A grade 2 tumour is called an atypical choroid plexus papilloma.
  • A grade 3 tumour is cancerous (malignant). It is called a choroid plexus carcinoma.

Treatments for choroid plexus tumours

The following are treatment options for choroid plexus tumours. The healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your child's needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan.

Newly diagnosed choroid plexus tumours may be treated with surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

Recurrent choroid plexus tumours may be treated with surgery. Radiation therapy, chemotherapy or both may be used after surgery, depending on what was previously used to treat the tumour.


Surgery is the main treatment for choroid plexus tumours that can be easily reached. The goal is to remove as much of the tumour as possible. If the doctor can remove all of the tumour, no further treatment may be needed. If the tumour can’t be completely removed, other treatments can be used, such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Surgery may also be used to relieve a buildup of CSF.

Find out more about surgery for childhood brain and spinal cord tumours.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays or particles to destroy cancer cells. Radiation therapy may be used to treat tumours that:

  • are hard to remove with surgery (those in the brain stem, near the optic nerves or in the hypothalamus or thalamus)
  • have been partially removed but could cause neurological problems if they regrow

Doctors usually avoid giving radiation to children younger than 3 years of age because it can damage developing brain cells. In these cases, the doctors will:

  • postpone giving radiation until the child is older
  • give chemotherapy first and radiation later, if needed
  • avoid radiation altogether and monitor the child closely to see if the tumour comes back

Find out more about radiation therapy for childhood brain and spinal cord tumours.


Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be used after surgery or if radiation therapy has to be delayed. The most common chemotherapy combination used to treat choroid plexus tumours is ifosfamide (Ifex), carboplatin and etoposide (Vepesid).

Find out more about chemotherapy for childhood brain and spinal cord tumours.

Clinical trials

Children with cancer may be treated in a clinical trial. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, find and treat cancer. Find out more about clinical trials.

Expert review and references

  • Donna Johnston, MD
  • Nirav Thacker, MD

Medical disclaimer

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