Posterior fossa tumors

Last revised by Dr Yahya Baba on 03 Oct 2021

Posterior fossa tumor has a very different differential in an adult as opposed to a child.

Adult

An important space-occupying lesion (the most common in fact) to remember is that of a stroke, which when subacute can mimic a tumor. 

Child

A quick and handy mnemonic for posterior fossa tumors in children is BEAM.

Although it is true that posterior fossa tumors are much more common in children than in adults the distribution does vary with age 2:

  • 0 to 3 years of age: supratentorial > infratentorial
  • 4 to 10 years of age: infratentorial > supratentorial
  • 10 to early adulthood: infratentorial = supratentorial
  • adults: supratentorial > infratentorial

Overall 50-55% of all brain tumors in children are found in the posterior fossa 3.

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Cases and figures

  • Ependymoma
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  • Medulloblastoma
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  • Pilocytic astrocytoma
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  • Ependymoma
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  • Hemangioblastoma
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  • Metastasis
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