Sunday, January 13, 2008

How to Treat Glioblastoma


A glioblastoma is listed as a Grade IV astrocytoma by the World Health Organization and is the most aggressive and common brain tumor. A glioblastoma infiltrates the brain extensively and may become large before causing symptoms. A glioblastoma rarely metastasizes outside of the brain, but the prognosis remains extremely poor. The following steps will show how to treat a glioblastoma.


Difficulty: Challenging



Step One

Include continuous supportive care along with the definitive treatment options of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. This is essential in order to improve the quality of life as much as possible.

Step Two

Expect surgery to always result in an incomplete removal of the glioblastoma. The tumor is so infiltrative that it can never be completely resected. The extent to which resection is possible depends on the location, and the benefit of surgery depends on the amount of tumor remaining.

Step Three

Use radiatiotherapy therapy after surgery to prolong survival by 14 to 36 weeks. The standard dose of external radiotherapy is 60 Gy in daily amounts of 1.7 to 2 Gy five times a week. This therapy reduces the size of about one quarter of glioblastomas.

Step Four

Perform stereotactic brachytherapy in patients with recurring glioblastomas. Candidates for this procedure should have well-defined tumors less than 5 cm in diameter. Brachytherapy involves placing catheters with radioactive isotopes directly into the tumors so that normal brain tissue is not affected.

Step Five

Administer chemotherapy, usually temozolomide, with concurrent radiation therapy after surgery to significantly prolong survival in patients with glioblastomas.

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