What is a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM)?

A glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a high-grade glioma that arises from glial cells, the brain’s supportive tissue. GBMs are aggressive tumors that rapidly infiltrate nearby healthy brain tissue, which makes them very difficult to treat.

About 65% of pediatric glioblastoma multiforme tumors occur in the cerebral hemispheres, which control higher functions such as speech, movement, thought, and sensation. GBMs can also develop in the part of the brain that identifies sensations like temperature, pain, and touch, as well as the region of the brain that controls balance and motor function.

Glioblastoma multiforme accounts for 3 to 15 percent of pediatric brain tumors and occur equally in boys and girls. These types of tumors are the third most common brain tumor in children.

GBMs occur with increased frequency in children with certain genetic syndromes, including neurofibromatosis 1, tuberous sclerosis, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, and hereditary .

What causes a glioblastoma multiforme? Who is affected?

Glioblastoma multiforme tumors in children are typically diagnosed between the ages of 5-9. can occur at any age, but most often occurs in infants and young children. The cause of glioblastoma multiforme is not known.

Unfortunately, the prognosis for GBM remains very poor. Generally, more complete surgical resection of the tumor results in a great chance for survival.

Where are the symptoms of glioblastoma multiforme tumors?

Most GBM symptoms result from increased pressure within the head, while others relate to the location of the tumor, rate of growth, and the associated inflammation.

Symptoms can develop slowly over time or have a sudden onset. The most common symptoms are headaches and lethargy, seizures (depending on tumor type and location), and compression of surrounding brain structures (which can cause weakness, other motor dysfunction, hormonal abnormalities, or changes in behavior and thought processes.

How is a ependymoma treated?

The first step in treatment almost always begins with surgery, with the goal of removing as much of the tumor as possible. Sometimes the location of the tumor or other factors may make it impossible for the neurosurgeons to remove completely.

Radiation therapy uses high-energy waves or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. This is important to control the local growth of the tumor, and helps increase survival rates in high-grade gliomas.

Chemotherapy uses powerful medication to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing and making more cancer cells. Chemo is injected or given orally so that it can travel throughout the body. Combination therapy is when more than one chemotherapy drug is used at one time. No chemotherapy regimen has yet been found to increase survival rates in children with glioblastoma multiforme.