Astrocytomas are neuroepithelial tumors (gliomas) that arise from the supportive tissue of the brain. These tumors are classified by the WHO into four separate grades depending on the extent of abnormality. Astrocytomas initially present with general symptoms including headaches and/or epileptic seizures, which are rapidly replaced by focal symptoms such as progressive paralysis or aphasia. Low-grade astrocytomas are usually localized, slow-growing, and occur predominantly in younger populations (children and adults aged between 20 and 40). Grade IV astrocytomas, on the other hand, are rapidly growing glioblastomas, which are the most common malignant primary brain tumors in adults aged 50–60. Diagnosis is established based on the patient's clinical history and MRI findings. The treatment for astrocytomas is surgical resection, which may need to be combined with radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy in higher-grade tumors. The prognosis is usually poor for higher-grade tumors regardless of whether they receive treatment, with a life expectancy of several months (maximum of 2 years). However, low-grade astrocytomas can often be completely cured with effective surgical resection.
|Overview of astrocytomas|
|Type||Pilocytic astrocytoma ||Optic glioma ||Diffuse astrocytoma||Anaplastic astrocytoma ||Glioblastoma || Brainstem glioma |
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