Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common glioma (a type of brain cancer). It represents nearly one fourth of all primary brain tumors. This cancer starts in the glial cells, which are cells that help nerve cells work.
This condition can develop spontaneously. Less commonly, it can develop from a lower grade, less malignant (cancerous) brain tumor. Most cases are located in the cerebral hemisphere, but the cancer can begin in the spinal cord or brain stem.
If you suspect you have this serious condition, contact your doctor immediately. Early treatment leads to a more favorable outcome.
treatment is used to further decrease the size of the tumor, usually by about 25% and may be most helpful in improving survival in older patients.
also increases survival time and quality of life.
Steroids to suppress swelling, antiseizure medication to suppress seizures, and pain medications are also used.
Currently, researchers are studying new treatments. These include:
Anti-angiogenesis (to stop tumors from making new blood cells)
Genetic analysis of the tumor—This is becoming an important tool in determining which therapies are best suited for a given individual. More research needs to be done in these areas.
Unfortunately, overall prognosis is poor. Even with aggressive treatment, few patients survive more than five years after diagnosis. However, there is evidence that medical and surgical intervention can increase life expectancy and improve quality of life.
A multi-disciplinary approach is important for you and your family. This approach may involve:
McDermott Michael W, Kunwar Sandeep, Berger Mitchel S. Neurosurgery and surgery of the pituitary. In: Doherty GM, Way LW.
Current Surgical Diagnosis and Treatment.
12th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2003: chap 37.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a