Approximately 200.000 people worldwide are diagnosed with primary brain cancer each year. Gliomas are the most common subtype of primary brain tumor.

Glioma subtypes
There are three main subtypes of gliomas: Astrocytomas, pure Oligodendrogliomas and mixed oligoastrocytomas. The names “astrocytoma” and “oligodendroglioma” are derived from the type of glial cell they most resemble: astrocytes or oligodendrocytes. Mixed oligoastrocytomas have features of both cell types. Gliomas are further classified into different grades depending on the number of malignant features present. Unfortunately, the glioma that has most malignant features (grade IV or glioblastoma) is not only the most aggressive, but also the most common.

Prognosis and Treatment
Despite advances in neurosurgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy the prognosis for most glioma patients remains poor. This poor prognosis is reflected by the disproportional high mortality rate of gliomas compared to most other types of cancer. Survival can depend on the histological subtype, grade, patient age and patient performance. Treatment may depend on the type and grade of glioma and may involve surgical resection, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or combinations thereof.

  1. Parkin DM, Bray F, Ferlay J, Pisani P. Global cancer statistics, 2002. CA Cancer J Clin. 2005 Mar- Apr;55(2):74-108.
  2. Louis DN, Ohgaki H, Wiestler OD, Cavenee WK, editors. WHO Classification of Tumours of the Central Nervous System. 4th ed. Lyon; 2007.