Merck Manual

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Primary Tumors That Originate in or Near the Spinal Cord*

Primary Tumors That Originate in or Near the Spinal Cord*

Type of Tumor

Origin

Cancer Status

Astrocytoma

Cells of the tissue that supports nerve cells

Cancerous

Chordoma

Certain cells of the embryo that are involved in the development of the spine

Cancerous and invasive but spreads slowly

Ependymoma

Cells lining the canal in the center of the spinal cord

Noncancerous or cancerous

Meningioma

Cells of the layers of tissue covering the spinal cord (meninges)

Mostly noncancerous but may recur

Recurrences sometimes cancerous

Neurofibroma

Cells that support peripheral nerves (the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord)

Usually noncancerous

Schwannoma

Cells (called Schwann cells) that wrap around peripheral nerve fibers, forming the myelin sheath

Usually noncancerous

* These tumors can occur in children and adults.