Glioblastoma multiforme and anaplastic astrocytoma
The number one predictor of how a child will do in an operation is not based on where the tumor is or how big it is. The number one predictor is how experienced the neurosurgeon is in doing that operation in children.
?Mark Kieran, MD, PhD, director, Pediatric Brain Tumors Program
Having a tumor in the brain is always a very serious matter, and glioblastoma multiforme and anaplastic astrocytoma are no different. Tumors are masses of abnormal cells that grow out of control. When these tumors originate in the brain, they can be very complicated to treat because of the delicate surrounding tissue.
A high-grade glioma is a malignant tumor that arises from the brain’s supportive tissue (glial cells). There are two high-grade gliomas: glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and anaplastic astrocytoma (AA).
- GBM and AA come from a type of glial cell called an astrocyte.
- An astrocytoma is a type of glioma, and sometimes they are referred to as gliomas.
- These tumors can occur with increased frequency in families with certain genetic diseases, including neurofibromatosis type I (also called NF1), Li-Fraumeni syndrome, hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer and tuberous sclerosis.
- GBM and AA are aggressive tumors that rapidly infiltrate adjacent brain tissue and, as a result, they are difficult to treat.
As you read on, you’ll find detailed information about glioblastoma multiforme and anaplastic astrocytoma. If you would like to read more general information about brain tumors first, see our overview on brain tumors.
How Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center approaches glioblastoma multiforme and anaplastic astrocytoma
If your child is cared for at Children’s, she will be seen through Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center, an integrated pediatric oncology program through Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Children’s Hospital Boston that provides—in one specialized program—all the services of both a leading cancer center and a leading pediatric hospital.
Most children diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme or anaplastic astrocytoma receive surgery and radiation, and in some cases chemotherapy. Our pediatric neuro-oncology and pediatric neurosurgical specialists at Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center offer:
- technological advances, such as the intra-operative MRI, which allow our pediatric neurosurgeons to “see” the tumor as they operate with MRI scans
- treatment with the best standard of care, including neurosurgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy
- access to unique Phase I clinical trials from our own investigators, Children’s Oncology Group, the Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Consortium and the Department of Defense Neurofibromatosis Clinical Trial Consortium
|Have questions about some of the terms mentioned on this page? Visit our Cancer Care Center Glossary for more information|
Glioblastoma multiforme and anaplastic astrocytoma: Reviewed by Mark Kieran, MD, PhD
© Children’s Hospital Boston, 2010