Development of the WHO Classification of Tumors of the Central Nervous System: A Historical Perspective


Bernd W. Scheithauer, MD, Mayo Clinic, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, 200 First Street, SW, Rochester, MN 55905 (E-mail:


The classification of brain tumors has undergone numerous changes over the past half century. The World Health Organization has played a key role in the effort. Four versions of its Classification of Tumours of the Central Nervous System have been published. The present work chronicles their progress, placing emphasis on the historical context of the earliest effort.