When a tumor grows in an area of the brain known as the ventricle—a cavity filled with cerebrospinal fluid—such tumors are labeled as intraventricular, and can potentially block the passage of cerebrospinal fluid to and from the brain and lead to hydrocephalus as well as other life-threatening conditions.

Originating from various glial cells in the brain, tumors classified as meningiomas, colloid cysts, craniopharyngiomas, astrocytomas, and ependymoms all can be termed intraventicular tumors when they begin and grow within the ventricles.

The cause of intraventricular tumors is unknown to medical science. But, simply put, tumors are abnormal growths due to unnecessary cell multiplication that serves no proper function in the human body. Typically, cell multiplication is controlled by suppressor genes, which continually act to protect cells from cancer-causing genes known as oncogenes. However, when suppressor genes fail because of changes in their protein coding, tumor can develop as cell division becomes unregulated.

Whereas our body’s built-in defenses find and destroy these abnormal cells, naturally occurring chemicals sometimes hamper the ability of our immune system to see these cells, as which point they become strong enough and exist in large enough numbers to overpower any of body’s defenses.

Dependent on the location, size and type of the intraventricular tumor, symptoms can range from seizures to changes in cognitive ability and behavior to memory loss and numbness and weakness throughout the body. And if a tumor is impeding the flow of cerebrospinal fluid between the brain and spinal cord, obstructive hydrocephalus can result and cause headaches, vision problems and nausea. If not treated, the condition can become fatal.

By observing symptoms and performing physical and neurological tests as well as imaging, a diagnosis of an intraventricular tumor can be concluded. Additionally, a biopsy can determine the nature of the tumor and whether it is malignant or benign.

Once a diagnosis is confirmed, treatment—contingent on the tumor’s size, location and severity—begins with procedures to alleviate any pressure on the brain caused by the tumor as well as surgeries to remove the tumor completely.