Glioblastoma Multiforme | Astrocytoma Grade 4 - Frequently Asked Questions

Written by Anil Golani | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Simi Paknikar, MD on Mar 10, 2016
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which doctor should I consult for glioblastoma?

Glioblastomas are tumors which are commonly found in cerebral hemispheres (two halves of the largest part of the brain) of the brain, but may be seen also anywhere in the brain or spinal cord. For this reason, a qualified and trained neurosurgeon must be consulted.

2. What is the incidence of glioblastomas?

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) has an incidence of 2-3/100,000 adults per year and accounts for 15-20% of CNS tumors, but just 0.85-2% of all primary brain tumors. It is seen in adults in ages of 45 to 70 years, but rare in patients less than 30. Prognosis for GBM is poor and survival rates are less than 15 months after diagnosis. Their frequency rises with age and affects more men than women. At present, no effective long term treatment of the disease is available.

3. Are radiotherapy and chemotherapy applicable to all age groups?

Multisession radiotherapy and intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) are not recommended for young children as their brains are still in developmental stages and highly susceptible to long-term permanent developmental damage. Whereas, chemotherapy may be used as a primary therapy in young children or as adjuvant therapy (for example, after the tumor has been surgically removed).

4. Why it is difficult to treat glioblastoma?

This is due to several reasons as below:
  • Tumor cells are resistant to conventional therapies.
  • Conventional therapy can cause damage to the brain.
  • Brain has a very limited capacity for its repair.

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