Glioblastoma

Glioblastoma accounts for 30 percent of all brain tumors, and is the most common primary brain tumor of adults. Glioblastomas occur most often in older adults, both men and women. Less than 10 percent of childhood brain tumors are glioblastomas.

What is a glioblastoma?
A glioblastoma is a malignant tumor that originates from the supportive tissue of the brain, and grows from star-shaped, astrocyte cells. Glioblastoma tumors have tentacle-like cells that grow into the surrounding tissue. While there are low-grade astrocytomas, the grade IV glioblastomas are more common, completely malignant, and can grow very rapidly in the brain, growing over three to six months.

What are the symptoms of glioblastoma?
Headaches, memory loss, seizures and behavioral changes are the most common symptoms, primarily due to increased pressure of the brain caused by rapid growth of the tumor. As the tumor grows, loss of certain bodily functions may also occur, depending on the location of the tumor.

How do I know if I have a glioblastoma?
Your specialist will conduct a neurological examination, followed by CT scans and/or an MRI. This will help determine the size, location and type of tumor. The diagnosis can be confirmed by a biopsy.

What treatments are available?
There are many options for treating glioblastomas:

  • Image-guided neurosurgery
  • Interventional MRI
  • High-precision radiosurgery, including three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy and stereotactic radiosurgery
  • Interstitial brachytherapy (radiation seed implants)
  • Chemotherapy