An astrocytoma is a tumor that arises from the star-shaped cells that form the supportive tissue of the brain. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies astrocytomas into four grades depending on how fast they are growing and the likelihood that they will spread to nearby brain tissue.
- Grade I astrocytoma is usually a non-infiltrating tumor.
- Grade II astrocytoma is also called low-grade astrocytoma or diffuse astrocytoma and is usually an infiltrating tumor.
- Grade III astrocytoma is also called anaplastic (malignant) astrocytoma because this tumor grows more quickly than a grade II astrocytoma.
- Grade IV astrocytoma is also called glioblastoma or GBM and is the most aggressive type of nervous system tumor.
Signs and symptoms of grade I and grade II astrocytomas are subtle because the brain is able to temporarily adapt to the presence of a slow-growing tumor. Symptoms of grade III and grade IV astrocytomas may be sudden and debilitating.
The cause of most astrocytomas is not known. Researchers speculate that genetic and immunologic abnormalities, environmental factors (e.g., exposure to ultraviolet rays, certain chemicals, ionizing radiation), diet, stress, and/or other factors may play contributing roles in causing specific types of cancer.
To treat astrocytoma brain tumor, surgery, radiation,chemotherapy, targeted therapy and electric-field therapy may be needed.
Keywords: astrocytoma brain tumor