Peripheral nerve tumors


Peripheral nerve tumors are a type of tumor that develops within or near the nerves that carry signals from the brain to the rest of the body. The purpose of these nerves is to regulate the muscles in the body that allows movement, such as walking, running, and doing other activities, controlling the body to blink and swallow.

Most peripheral nerve tumors are non-cancerous, however their development in the body can still cause discomfort, damage to the nerves, and loss of function.

Peripheral nerve tumors come in several forms.

  • Intraneural tumors: tumors damage the nerves by growing inside them.
  • Extraneural tumors: tumors that cause nerve damage by pressing against them.

Different types of peripheral nerve tumors

  • Acoustic neuroma: the vestibular nerve that connects your inner ear to your brain might develop a noncancerous tumor known as a vestibular schwannoma.
  • Desmoid tumors: growth of benign tumor at the connective tissue, also known as aggressive fibromatosis. Desmoid tumors are most commonly found in the abdomen, arms, and legs.
  • Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors: this particular type of cancer affects the spinal cord by
    developing in the nerve lining, also known as neurofibrosarcomas.
  • Neurofibroma: a type of nerve tumor manifests as soft lumps on or beneath the skin and can form within a main or minor nerve.
  • Neurofibromatosis: tumors develop on nerve tissue as a result of a series of hereditary diseases called neurofibromatosis in the neurological system, including the brain, spinal cord, and nerves.
  • Schwannoma: a specific kind of nerve sheath tumor. Adults are most likely to develop this kind of benign peripheral nerve tumor, however it could affect people at any age, and it can happen anywhere in your body.


A peripheral nerve tumor might directly affect the primary nerve, or it can press on surrounding nerves, blood vessels, or tissues, causing symptoms and signs to appear. These may become more evident as the tumor grows.

Signs and symptoms differ based on where the tumors are located, and which tissues are affected

  • Lump or swelling under the skin
  • Tingling sensation
  • Pain or numbness
  • Loss of balance
  • Weakness
  • Loss of function of the affected area

If you have any of the following symptoms, especially if a lump is developing quickly, visit a specialist immediately.


The majority of peripheral nerve tumors have unknown causes as it could happen from an immature gene, or by an accident or a surgery, while others, like neurofibromatosis (types 1 and 2) and schwannomatosis, are connected to well-known hereditary disorders.

Risk factors

It is more typical for persons with peripheral nerve tumors to have:

  • Neurofibromatosis (types 1 and 2) and schwannomatosis: Typically, these tumors are not malignant. However, these tumors typically grow on or close to the body’s nerves. Depending on where they are, these tumors can cause different kinds of signs and symptoms.
  • Radiation exposure: A history of treatment with radiation increases the likelihood of developing peripheral nerve tumors.