Brain Tumor Center

MRI Cross Section

The Brain Tumor Center at UCSF is one of the largest and most comprehensive programs for brain tumor treatment in the United States. It includes the Division of Neuro-oncology, the Brain Tumor Research Center, and the Division of Translational Research. The Center also offers social services and neuropsychological consultation, and has close ties with organizations sponsoring support groups and other resources for patients and their families.

A multidisciplinary team specializes in treating all types of brain tumors, including:

Adult Brain Tumors


Pediatric Brain Tumors

Gliomas Medulloblastoma
Glioblastoma (grade IV glioma) Astrocytoma
Anaplastic astrocytoma (grade III glioma)  Ependymoma
Low-grade astrocytoma (grade II glioma) Brainstem glioma
Pilocytic astrocytoma (grade I glioma) Craniopharyngioma
Oligodendroglioma Spinal cord tumors
Mixed Glioma   
Skull Base Tumors  
Acoustic neuroma (vestibular schwannoma)  
Pituitary Adenomas    
Nasal carcinomas   
Pineal Region Tumor  
Metastatic Tumor   



Surgery is usually the most effective first line of attack for treating brain tumors. Tumors are removed to the maximum extent possible using advanced equipment such as intraoperative MRI scanners and image-guided systems for precise surgical navigation. Intraoperative mapping of the functional brain allows for more extensive resection of tumor and seizure foci, with less chance of producing sensorimotor or language deficits than is otherwise possible. Our neurosurgeons also have expertise in Gamma Knife® and CyberKnife® radiosurgery and work with radiation oncologists to optimize radiation therapy. More about surgery for brain tumors ►


Medical Treatment

Treatment planning and adjuvant therapy for brain tumors is managed by adult and pediatric neuro-oncologists in the Division of Neuro-oncology. Treatment options include brachytherapy, convection-enhanced delivery of therapeutic agents, radiosurgery, and medical therapy. The Division also has an international reputation for excellence in testing experimental therapies for brain tumors, and approximately 200 patients are enrolled in clinical trials each year. Currently, the Division of Neuro-oncology is expanding its clinical research effort to include patient-focused outcomes research, with an emphasis on quality of life, symptom clusters, cognitive function, caregiver research, and patient and care giver education. More about clinical neuro-oncology and clinical trials for brain tumors ►


UCSF’s Acoustic Neuroma and Hearing Preservation Program includes physicians from the Departments of Neurological Surgery, Otolaryngology – Head [&] Neck Surgery, and Radiation Oncology who are devoted to caring for patients with acoustic neuromas and hearing loss, and who are continually striving to translate their scientific advances into more-effective therapies.


Children who come to UCSF with a brain tumor are cared for by our pediatric neurological surgery and pediatric neuro-oncology specialists in the UCSF Children's Medical Center. The Center, which has dedicated pediatric preoperative and postoperative facilities, is a member of the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI), a national nonprofit association of children's hospitals and health systems committed to excellence in children's services. Our pediatric neurosurgeons also provide care to patients at Children’s Hospital [&] Research Center Oakland. More about the Pediatric Brain Tumor Program ►