The brain tumor specialists at Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health South Florida combine state-of-the-art diagnostic methods and innovative therapies to deliver a higher level of care for gliomas. They understand that, in addition to advanced treatment options, effective glioma treatment requires an accurate diagnosis, skilled rehabilitation services and close follow-up care.
Your care team at Miami Cancer Institute includes specialists from many areas. They work together to carefully consider your treatment options so you receive the right care for your specific condition.
What is a glioma?
Gliomas are the most common type of primary brain tumor. They develop in glial cells – a group of cells that covers neurons and supports their activity – and can affect any part of the brain or spinal cord.
Gliomas can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous), low-grade (slow-growing) or high-grade (fast-growing). High-grade gliomas are more common than low-grade gliomas. In some cases, a low-grade glioma can become a high-grade glioma.
What are the types of gliomas?
There are many different types of gliomas, which are grouped by the types of glial cells where they begin. Types of glial cells include astrocyte cells, ependymal cells and oligodendrocyte cells.
The brain tumor specialists at the Institute are experienced in treating all types of gliomas, including:
- Astrocytomas. These develop out of astrocyte cells. Types of astrocytomas include:
- Glioblastomas. A fast-growing, cancerous tumor that usually affects adults.
- Pilocytic astrocytomas. A usually slow-growing, noncancerous tumor that typically affects children.
- Pleomorphic xanthroastrocytomas (PXAs). A very rare type of astrocytoma that can be either slow-growing and noncancerous or fast-growing and cancerous.
- Oligodendrogliomas. These begin in oligodendrocyte cells.
- Gangliogliomas. This is a rare type of glioma that develops out of glial cells and nerve cells (the cells that transport messages from the body to the brain and back). Most gangliogliomas are slow-growing and benign, but a small percentage can grow quickly and become cancerous. It is the most aggressive form of adult brain cancer.
- Astroblastoma. This is a rare type of tumor that begins in astroblasts – primitive cells that become astrocyte cells. Astroblastomas can be either slow-growing and noncancerous or fast-growing and cancerous.
What are the risk factors for gliomas?
Most people with a low-grade glioma have no known risk factors. However, potential risk factors include:
- Genetic syndromes such as neurofibromatosis type 1 and type 2, von Hippel-Lindau disease, tuberous sclerosis, and Li-Fraumeni syndrome.
- Exposure to vinyl chloride.
Tumor-Treating Fields, in my opinion, based on the current data, should be offered to all newly-diagnosed glioblastoma patients. It should be discussed at recurrence in patients that have not received it in the upfront setting and it should be considered even in patients who have limited functional status.