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Glioblastoma multiforme is the most common malignant brain tumor, or glioblastoma, suffered by adults. It is a type of high-grade tumor called an astrocytoma which originates from brain-supporting cells called astrocytes. It normally occurs in the cerebral hemisphere but can also be found in other areas of the brain, brainstem and spinal cord.

Prevalence and Incidence

Glioblastoma accounts for approximately 30 percent of all primary brain tumors in adults and about nine percent of brain tumors in children. Primary brain tumors can occur at any age but are most common in adults over the age of 50 with more men affected than women. The National Brain Tumor Society reports two to three new cases are diagnosed annually per 100,000 people in the United States and Europe.

What are the symptoms of glioblastoma multiforme?

Glioblastoma multiforme usually grows rapidly and spreads easily into other parts of the brain and central nervous system. It has the potential to metastasize to other parts of the body, such as the lungs, lymph nodes or bones. High pressure in the brain may cause a person to slip into a coma. Symptoms of glioblastoma vary by body location and include the following:

  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Speech difficulty
  • Memory loss
  • Behavioral changes
  • Personality changes

How is glioblastoma multiforme diagnosed?

Symptoms of a brain tumor should be explored further. A glioblastoma diagnosis requires expert neurosurgical evaluation to examine eye movement and vision, hearing, sensation, reflexes, balance and coordination, motor skills, thinking and memory.

The evaluation is followed by radiographic studies that include a computerized tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The tests can confirm and provide information regarding the presence, size and location of a tumor.

Additional tests such as X-rays, cerebral angiogram or spinal tap may be necessary. A stereotactic biopsy may also be necessary for a precise diagnosis.

What are the treatment options for glioblastoma multiforme?

Treatment options for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) vary due to the size and location of brain tumors. Surgical removal is standard treatment; however, complete resection of a tumor is not always successful. Treatment options extend to radiotherapy (radiation implants), brachytherapy and chemotherapy to eradicate remaining tumor cells and hinder recurrence after surgery. Unfortunately, a tumor is liable to return within several months of aggressive treatment.

Here to Help You Battle Brain Tumors

We are committed to helping you fight brain cancer. Our neurosurgeons and team of experts will provide compassionate care and utilize state of the art technology during your treatment. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with GBM, contact us today for more information at (908) 688-8800.