Tumour Group: Gliomas are considered a Tumour Group
WHO Grade: These tumours are graded on a scale from I to IV based on the World Health Organization (WHO) brain tumour grading scale, and how normal or abnormal the cells look.
Prevalence/Incidence: Please refer to a specific Tumour Type for this information.
Typical Age Range: Please refer to a specific Tumour Type for this information.

Description of Tumour
Treatment / Standard of Care

Description of Tumour

Glioma is a general name for tumours arising from the glial cells, the gluey / supportive tissue of the brain. There are many types of gliomas, including astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, and ependymomas. The most common type of glioma is astrocytoma. Gliomas make up about 60% of all primary brain tumours and are frequently malignant.

Glial cells are the most common cellular component of the brain. There are 5 to 10 times more glial cells than neurons.

There are 3 types of glial cells: astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and ependymal cells. Unlike neurons, glial cells have the ability to divide and multiply. If this process occurs too rapidly and without control, a glioma forms.

Different gliomas form from different glial cells such as:

  • Tumours with characteristics of abnormal astrocytes are called astrocytomas. More than three quarters of all gliomas are astrocytomas.
  • Other types of gliomas are oligodendroglioma and ependymoma.
  • In some cases, tumours can have mixed features and therefore be named mixed glioma (oligoastrocytoma, for example).


Symptoms are different for various types of gliomas. Please refer to a specific Tumour Type for this information.

Treatment / Standard of Care

Treatments are different depending on the type of glioma. Please refer to a specific Tumour Type for this information.


A prognosis is an estimate of the likely progress of a disease after a diagnosis, based on an average patient group. Since every person is different, please take time to talk with your health care team about how this information applies to you.

As gliomas are considered a Tumour Group, please refer to a specific tumour type for this information.


Adult Brain Tumour Handbook 6th Edition. Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. 2012.

"Gliomas" American Brain Tumour Association. American Brain Tumour Association, n.d. Web. July 9, 2013.

Louis, David N. WHO Classification of Tumours of the Central Nervous System. Lyon: International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2007. Print

"UCLA Neurosurgery." Conditions & Treatments. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 May 2013.

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You can also download this information as a Information Sheet (pdf).


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