Glioblastoma (GBM), also known as a grade IV astrocytoma, is a type of cancer that develops within the glial tissue of the brain. Glioblastomas are not only the most common of the primary brain tumors, but also the most highly aggressive and malignant. Glioblastomas are able to grow and spread rapidly, while invading and crowding out normal brain cells, due to the ability to make their own blood supply. Glioblastomas can occur in any lobe of the brain, but are more commonly found in the frontal and temporal lobes. Glioblastoma typically affects more men than women. It can occur at any age, but is far more likely to be diagnosed in adults than in children.
Signs and symptoms of GBM may include one or more of the following:
- Progressive or persistent headaches
- New onset seizures
- Changes in mood or personality
- Double or blurred vision
- Memory loss
- Muscle weakness
- Speech difficulties
- Increased intracranial pressure
The exact underlying cause or causes of glioblastoma are unknown. Suggested factors that may increase the risk of GBM include head injuries, genetic predisposition, and race. Because glioblastomas contain so many different types of cells, each with divergent responses to various therapies, GBM can be difficult to treat.
Treatment options for glioblastoma may include one or more of the following:
- Radiation therapy
- Chemotherapy with temozolomide
- Antiangiogenic therapy with bevacizumab
- Tumor treating fields (TTF)