The incidence of major subtypes of primary brain tumors in adults in England 1995-2017

Hiba A. Wanis*, Henrik Møller, Keyoumars Ashkan, Elizabeth A. Davies

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Primary brain tumors are a complex heterogenous group of benign and malignant tumors. Reports on their occurrence in the English population by sex, age, and morphological subtype and on their incidence are currently not available. Using data from the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS), the incidence of adult primary brain tumor by major subtypes in England will be described.

Data on all adult English patients diagnosed with primary brain tumor between 1995 and 2017, excluding spinal, endocrinal, and other CNS tumors, were extracted from NCRAS. Incidence rates were standardized to the 2013 European Standard Population. Results are presented by sex, age, and morphological subtype.

Between 1995 and 2017, a total of 133 669 cases of adult primary brain tumor were registered in England. Glioblastoma was the most frequent tumor subtype (31.8%), followed by meningioma (27.3%). The age-standardized incidence for glioblastoma increased from 3.27 per 100 000 population per year in 1995 to 7.34 in men in 2013 and from 2.00 to 4.45 in women. Meningioma incidence also increased from 1.89 to 3.41 per 100 000 in men and from 3.40 to 7.46 in women. The incidence of other astrocytic and unclassified brain tumors declined between 1995 and 2007 and remained stable thereafter.

Part of the increase in the incidence of major subtypes of brain tumors in England could be explained by advances in clinical practice including the adoption of new diagnostic tools, classifications and molecular testing, and improved cancer registration practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1371-1382
Number of pages12
Issue number8
Early online date9 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • brain tumors
  • cancer registry
  • epidemiology
  • incidence


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