What is medulloblastoma?

Medulloblastoma is a brain tumor located in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance, coordination, and other complex motor functions. 

  • Medulloblastoma accounts for 15 to 20 percent of all pediatric brain tumors.
  • Medulloblastomas occur most commonly in children between ages of 3 and 8 but can be seen in children and adults of any age.
  • There are about 350 cases of medulloblastoma diagnosed each year in the United States.

Doctors historically have classified medulloblastoma as either standard or high risk based on biopsy results. In recent years, however, studies by researchers at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s and other institutions have shown that what we call medulloblastoma could actually be several different diseases. In fact, medulloblastoma can be divided into four molecular subtypes based on specific types of gene mutations within the tumor. Each subtype has a distinct survival rate, ranging from 20 to 90 percent.

Children diagnosed with medulloblastoma are treated through the Medulloblastoma Treatment Program at the Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Brain Tumor Center, a world-renowned destination for children with malignant and non-malignant brain and spinal cord tumors.

Find in-depth information on medulloblastoma on the Dana-Farber/Boston Children's website, including answers to:

  • How is medulloblastoma diagnosed?
  • What is the best treatment for medulloblastoma?
  • What is the latest research on medulloblastoma?
  • What is the long-term outlook for children with medulloblastoma?