Astrocytoma is a slowly progressive and infiltrative tumor that develops from astrocytes, star-shaped glial cells in the brain and spinal cord. The disease is one of gliomas, tumors developed from glial cells of the brain or spine, the supportive tissue of neurons which are part of the astrocytes.
an invasive tumor of the cerebral hemispheres in adults, as well as the cerebellum in children. The disease may correspond to different stages depending on histological cell differentiation. It can be Benin, but it can turn into anaplastic astrocytoma, or a greater degree of malignancy in
Glioblastoma multiforme (the most aggressive malignant primary brain tumor in humans).
clinical characteristics of astrocytoma in adults are marked by late and isolated epilepsies:
/epilepsies (formerly known as
grand mal seizures) or Localization-related epilepsies. Patients may also experience headache,
intracranial hypertension or progressive motor deficit.
Children may have trouble walking and/or standing as well. It is also possible that children suffer from
astrocytomas feels pressure on their brain, given the tumor is usually in the vicinity of the brain. Indeed,
the occurrence of an astrocytoma near the cerebellum, for example, can lead to poor circulation of
cerebrospinal fluid and therefore a significant pressure on the brain. As the tumor grows, this pressure can
be discovered either by mismanagement of balance (in some cases) or by an ophthalmologist who can find
excessive intracranial pressure.
astrocytoma symptoms may include:
Difficulty with balance
Personality or behavior
Confusion in minor or daily
Headache that gradually becomes more
Change in pattern of headaches, more
frequent for instance
Nausea or vomiting with no real
Vision problems: blurred vision,
double vision, loss of peripheral vision, etc.
Gradual loss of sensation or movement
in an arm or a leg
of benign astrocytoma, the therapeutic approach may consist of surgical excision if the tumor is accessible; clinical monitoring and CT scan (or MRI); application of a drain to remove the pressure, a procedure performed rarely due to the position of the tumor. Antiepileptic treatment may be necessary.
that are not advanced, surgical removal of the tumor will allow an extension of life of the patient for many
years. In fact, the five-year survival is about 90% of well resected astrocytomas.
of advanced astrocytomas is not easy. Even today, despite advances in medicine, a complete resection of advanced
stages astrocytomas is impossible due to the diffuse infiltration of tumor cells into normal parenchyma, which
makes high-stage astrocytomas tend to return after the initial surgery or therapy. Cancers returned after
initial treatment are usually treated similarly as the original tumor. But despite therapeutic research and
spending of trillions of dollars, complete healing is still non-existent for astrocytomas diagnosed at an
advanced stage. Patients suffer from advanced or serious astrocytomas are treated with palliative