There is no such thing as a routine skull-base tumor. Every patient’s skull-base tumor is different, with different, individually unique genes and molecules driving each person’s specific cancer. And the skull base program at the OSUCCC – James is anything but routine. We have a world–renowned, multidisciplinary team of skull base experts who are transforming the way skull base tumors are diagnosed and treated, optimizing outcomes for patients and improving their quality of life. 

At the OSUCCC – James we have brought together neurosurgeons and otolaryngology–head and neck surgeons that work as a surgical team dedicated to the management of skull base disorders. Our team treats all patients with skull base diseases, including paranasal sinuses, spine, brain and pituitary tumors. We offer the entire breadth of surgical therapies for patients with tumors or other disorders of the skull base. Our surgeons are experienced in open, traditional techniques and minimally invasive surgeries, including endoscopic intra-ventricular approaches, brain port surgery and mini-craniotomies. They are pioneers in endonasal endoscopic and endoscopic assisted approaches, as well as transoral robotic surgery approaches. Our dedicated operating rooms integrate the most advanced technological innovations to improve the precision, efficiency and safety of the procedures; therefore, offering an environment that facilitates comprehensive care that achieves the most favorable outcomes. 

The multidisciplinary collaboration by our world-renowned experts continually produces exciting transformations in skull base surgery. Partnership with multiple other specialties that share goals and interests amplifies the evolution and distribution of alternative treatments that offer equivalent or superior results with much less side effects and complications. Working together with subspecialists in the fields of diagnostic neuroradiology, endovascular neurosurgery, pathology, anesthesiology, plastic and reconstructive surgery, neuro-ophthalmology, endocrinology, radiation oncology, and medical oncology we continue to improve the lives of our patients, eradicating tumors that were considered incurable while restoring the best quality of life possible. 

Our never-ending effort toward perfecting our care supplies momentum in the search for innovative and more efficient therapies, which drives the transition from diagnosis and treatment to more precise and personalized care that results in superior, more predictable outcomes.

And by offering access to the country’s most advanced clinical trials right here at the OSUCCC – James, patients know that additional options, when needed, are often available for their treatment and care.

If you have received a skull base tumor diagnosis, or if you want a second opinion or just want to speak to a skull base tumor specialist, we are here to help you. Call 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment. If you are an international patient, please reach out to our Destination Medicine team for a referral.

Program Points of Pride

  • Our physicians pioneered minimally invasive techniques, such as the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) to skull base surgery.
  • Our surgeons are internationally recognized leaders in minimally invasive surgical approaches such as EEA and endoscopic brain surgery, as well as traditional surgery.
  • Our expert skull base reconstruction surgeons use state-of-the-art techniques to restore form and function, personalizing treatment for each patient.
  • Our laboratories have ongoing research projects aimed at improving instrumentation and surgical techniques, enhancing diagnosis of cranial base disorders and developing new approaches to difficult-to-reach tumors.

Facts About Skull Base Tumors

Cancer or noncancerous growths can develop in or near the base of the skull. An example is nasopharyngeal cancer, or cancer of the upper part of the throat that runs behind the nose. Furthermore, the entire nasal cavity lies just below the skull; thus tumors arising within the nasal cavity often extend to the skull base. In addition, patients have tumors in their pituitary gland, which is a pea-sized organ just behind the nose in the center of the brain.

Because their location, in an area that serves as a relay station for nerves and vessels going to and coming from the brain, even a noncancerous tumor in the skull base can cause symptoms or problems when it grows and affects function.

Tumors in the skull base are deep from the surface of the face and scalp; thus, they are  difficult to reach without causing damage to the face, scalp or skull. 

(Source: National Cancer Institute )

Skull Base Tumors Anatomy

Types of Skull Base Tumors

There are several types of cancerous (malignant) and non-cancerous (benign) skull base tumors. The tumors may form in the cavities around the eye, nose, throat and sinuses or in or near the brain and brain stem. The most common include:

  • Olfactory neuroblastomas
  • Nasopharyngeal cancer
  • Squamous cell carcinomas
  • Adenocarcinomas
  • Adenoid cystic carcinomas
  • Hemangiopericytomas
  • Chordomas
  • Chondrosarcomas
  • Other sarcomas
  • Brain tumors
  • Metastases (cancer that spreads from another area of the body)
  • Pituitary gland tumors
  • Meningiomas
  • Craniopharyngiomas
  • Schwannomas
  • Inverting papillomas
  • Juvenile angiofibromas
  • Hemangiomas and other vascular malformations
  • Nasal polyps

Skull Base Tumor Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of skull base tumors vary, depending on the type and location of the tumor and whether it is benign or malignant.

Signs of nasopharyngeal cancer include nasal stuffiness, changes in the quality of speech (nasal voice) or muffled hearing. Patients often present with a lump in the neck, a sign that the tumor has travel to the lymph glands.

These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by cancer of the nasopharyx, nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses. and skull base proper; as well as various benign tumors, inflammatory and infectious conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • A lump in the neck
  • A sore throat
  • Nasal stuffiness for more than 2 weeks (especially if in just one side)
  • Facial swelling
  • Facial numbness
  • Changes in the position of your eye
  • Change in the fit of your dentures
  • Changes in your speech (nasal voice)
  • Nosebleeds
  • Trouble hearing (especially if in just one side)
  • Pain or ringing in the ear (especially if in just one side)
  • Rapid loss of vision (especially if in just one side)
  • Double vision
  • Headaches

(Source: National Cancer Institute)

Having these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have a cancer. But if you have symptoms you should tell your doctor, especially if symptoms have continued for longer than a few weeks.

If you have received a skull base tumor diagnosis, or if you want a second opinion or just want to speak to a skull base tumor specialist, we are here to help you. Call 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment. If you are an international patient, please reach out to our Destination Medicine team for a referral.

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Patient Story

Patient Stories Jared Gordon

Christy Burdette

When Christy Burdette, a registered nurse, needed surgery for a skull base tumor, she did her homework and, despite the long drive from home, chose the OSUCCC – James.

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The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

460 West 10th Avenue

Columbus, Ohio 43210

800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066

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