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Weill Cornell Cancer Center


Brain tumors in adults and children may require different treatment approaches. In children, for example, physicians have to weigh the effectiveness of therapy against the potential adverse effects of treatment, such as radiation therapy, on cognitive development. Thus, treatment is always performed with the intent for maximal therapy and functional outcome. The primary goal of brain tumor treatment is eradication of the tumor with minimal effect on patient function.

At the Weill Cornell Cancer Center, neuro-surgeons, neuro-oncologists, and radiation therapists collaborate to offer patients the most effective treatment possible while considering the effect of therapy on their quality of life. Patients may undergo surgery and/or have a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, depending on the tumor type, size, and location.


Weill Cornell Cancer Center neurosurgeons perform under the premise of removing tumors using technology designed to avoid and minimize injury to the surrounding tissue. Included in this technologically advanced arena are stereotaxy, minimally invasive endoscopic surgery, brain mapping, intra-operative imaging, and PET-guided surgery.

Using a team approach, neurosurgeons, otorhinolaryngologists, plastic surgeons, vascular surgeons, interventional neuroradiologists, and pediatric surgeons optimize the care of each patient. The goal is to minimize the impact of treatment while maximizing the impact of therapy. Surgeons come to the Weill Cornell Cancer Center from around the world to learn new approaches to skull base surgery.

Our neurosurgeons also use minimally invasive surgical approaches to treat patients with spinal tumors. Some of these patients benefit from percutaneous kyphoplasty, in which the surgeon inserts bone cement into a vertebra via needles inserted through the skin, providing support and relieving pain.


Several drugs are available to treat patients with brain tumors. However, overcoming the obstacle known as the blood-brain barrier (which prevents certain drugs from crossing into the brain to attack tumor cells) has been a formidable challenge for neuro-oncologists. Current standards of care for aggressive brain cancers such as gliomas and glioblastomas have not been proven to cure the disease. Weill Cornell Cancer Center physicians are participating in clinical trials of new therapies with the hope that these treatments will slow cancer growth and extend survival. For more information, see the Research section.

Radiation Therapy

The Weill Cornell Cancer Center offers patients a full spectrum of radiosurgical services. These noninvasive techniques target brain lesions while minimizing radiation exposure to noncancerous tissue, resulting in fewer complications and shorter hospital stays. Radiosurgical methods can also penetrate areas of the brain that could not be reached with conventional surgery or other techniques.

Available stereotactic radiation treatments (nonsurgical procedures that deliver a single high-dose of precisely-targeted radiation) include:

  • Gamma Knife radiation surgery (in which up to 201 beams of gamma radiation converge, with pinpoint accuracy, on a target within the brain)
  • linear accelerator (LINAC)-based stereotactic radiation surgery (which delivers radiation in the form of a single, highly focused beam applied in multiple sweeps around the brain lesion)
  • fractionated conformal radiation therapy
  • intensity modulated radiation therapy (which employs "beam-intensity modulation" technology that shapes the radiation to conform to the target site)

Learn more about radiation therapy for brain and spinal cord cancer.

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