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Embryonal tumors

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 12, 2023.


Embryonal tumors are uncontrolled growths of cells in the brain. The growths involve cells that are left over from fetal development, called embryonal cells.

Embryonal tumors are a type of brain cancer, also called malignant brain tumor. This means the cells that make up the tumor can grow to invade the brain and cause damage to healthy brain tissue. They also can spread through the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, called cerebrospinal fluid.

Embryonal tumors most often happen in babies and young children. But they can happen at any age.

There are several kinds of embryonal tumors. The most common is medulloblastoma. This type of embryonal tumor starts in the lower back part of the brain, called the cerebellum.

Symptoms of embryonal tumors vary, depending on the type of tumor, location, size and other factors, such as whether pressure builds up within the brain. Symptoms may include:

If your child is diagnosed with an embryonal tumor, seek care at a medical center that has experience caring for children with brain tumors. Medical centers with expertise in pediatric brain tumors provide access to the latest treatments and technology to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.


Your health care team reviews your child's medical history and symptoms. Tests and procedures used to diagnose embryonal tumors include:


Treatment for embryonal tumors usually involves surgery. Other treatments might be used after surgery to reduce the risk that the tumor may come back. Which treatments are best for your child depends on your child's age. Your child's health care team also considers the type of embryonal tumor and its location.

Embryonal tumor treatment options may include:

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