Glioma life expectancy (prognosis) and new treatments

CT Scan of a brain with a glioma

CT Scan of a brain with a glioma

Giomas are cancers that arises within the glial cells in the brain.  Glial cells offer support, and nutrients to neurons. There is about one glial cell for every neuron in the brain. Gliomas can be broken down into a few different types of cancer

  • Ependymomas

    • These tumors effect the ependymal cells which line the vessels that carry cerebrospinal fluid throughout the brain and spinal cord. These tumors are the most common brain cancer in children. Although these tumors respond well to surgery, particularly those on the spine, ependymomas cannot always be completely removed. The five-year survival rate for patients over age 45 approaches 70%.
  • Astrocytomas
    • This kind of brain cancer arises in astrocytes which are star shaped cells that help provide nutrients and regulate the repair process of neurons. There are 4 grades to astrocytomas:
      • I – pilocytic astrocytomaIn many cases, these tumors can be completely removed. Following an incomplete resection the patient’s 5-yr progression
        Pathology Slide of Glioblastoma Multiforme

        Pathology Slide of Glioblastoma Multiforme

        free survival is 60% with a 10 yr overall survival of  85%

      • II – diffuse astrocytoma83% 10-year overall survival (OS) and stable disease demonstrated after 5 years in nearly half of patients whose tumor was incompletely removed
      • III – anaplastic/malignant astrocytoma – Overall survival rates are generally in the range of 15 – 20%. With the combination of surgery andradiotherapy, only a few patients survive beyond 5 years after diagnosis.
      • IV – glioblastoma multiforme, GBMFew patients with grade IV survive beyond 2 years
  • Oligodendrogliomas
    • This type of cancer arises from the oligodendrocytes, cells that produce the myelin which is an insulating, fatty layer around the nerve cells. Half of patients with oligodendrogliomas are still alive after five years.
  • Mixed gliomas, such as oligoastrocytomas, contain cells from different types of glia.
    • There is no generalized prognosis since these tumors can be very complex a general prognosis depends on the area of the brain, the grade of the cancer as well as the types of cells the cancer arises in.  Please talk to your health care professional for more information if you or someone you know has a mixed glioma.

The best treatments for gliomas are just around the corner, please help advance the edge of medicine by participating in a clinical trial to help develop better treatments for glioma:

[LIST_TRIALS condition=”glioma”]

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