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Glioblastoma Multiforme - Adult Brain Tumor

Author: Sally Rider

Published: 2009-04-02 : (Rev. 2013-11-25)


Glioblastoma Multiforme is a fast growing type of central nervous system tumor that forms from glial tissue of the brain and spinal cord.

Main Digest

Alternate Names: Grades III and IV Astrocytoma, malignant glioma, anaplastic glioma, brain cancer, adult brain tumor, GBM.

Glioblastoma Multiforme is a fast-growing type of central nervous system tumor that forms from glial (supportive) tissue of the brain and spinal cord and has cells that look very different from normal cells.

Glioblastoma multiforme or grade IV astrocytoma is the most malignant of the primary brain tumors.

GBM is composed of glial (supportive) brain cells that, having lost their control mechanisms, grow, divide and spread aggressively throughout the brain tissue. In consequence, these tumors are difficult to treat and often recur after initial therapy.

Glioblastoma multiforme most often occurs in adults between the ages of 45 and 70 years and affects the brain more often than the spinal cord. The symptoms of glioblastoma multiforme may include: frequent headaches, vomiting, loss of appetite, changes in mood and personality, changes in ability to think and learn and seizures.

Diagnosis is based on patient history, neurological examination and diagnostic procedures. The only definitive test that can provide a diagnosis of glioblastoma multiforme is a biopsy of the tumor.

Testing to confirm diagnosis of glioblastoma multiforme includes neuroimaging (CT and MRI) to provide information about the location, size and shape of the tumor.

Treatment of glioblastoma multiforme may include the following: surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy.

Glioblastoma multiforme is highly aggressive, infiltrating, and responds poorly to all currently available treatments. The prognosis is grim as most patients die within 2 years and few survive longer than three years.

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