Ependymomas are a rare type of tumour that usually starts in the brain or spinal cord. It’s best to read this with our general information about brain tumours and spinal cord tumours. This has more detail about tests and treatments.
This information is about ependymomas in adults. We also have information about brain tumours that is written for teens and young adults. If you need information about ependymomas in children you can contact the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group.
Ependymomas belong to a group of tumours called gliomas. Gliomas are tumours that develop from the main supporting cells (glial cells) in the brain or spinal cord.
Different types of gliomas are named after the different types of glial cells. Ependymoma is a glioma that develops from a type of glial cell called ependymal cells. These cells line the fluid-filled spaces in the brain (ventricles) and the centre of the spinal cord.
Ependymomas can develop in any part of the brain or spine where there are ependymal cells. They can sometimes spread from where they started to other parts of the brain or spinal cord. They don’t spread to other parts of the body.