Glial cells, which are supportive cells that help brain cells (neurons) function are the most common cellular component of the brain. The most common type of glial cell is an astrocyte and an astrocytoma is a type of glial tumour. Like many brain tumour types, the exact cause of an astrocytoma is not known.
Tumours originating from the star-shaped astrocyte cells, which are the supportive tissue of the brain.
A significant proportion of astrocytomas, over time, may alter their cell structure and become more aggressive, i.e. anaplastic astrocytoma and glioblastoma.
Some examples of astrocytic tumours include:
- Pilocytic astrocytoma – Grade I
- Diffuse astrocytoma – Grade II
- Anaplastic astrocytoma – Grade III
- Glioblastoma (GB) – Grade IV
Low-grade astrocytomas are usually localized and grow slowly. High-grade astrocytomas grow at a rapid pace and require a different course of treatment. Most astrocytoma tumours in children are low-grade. In adults, the majority are high-grade.
Common symptoms include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Symptoms are different for various types of astrocytomas.
Treatment/Standard of Care
Treatments are different depending on the type of astrocytoma. Please refer to a specific Tumour Type for this information.