Anaplastic astrocytoma tumors, also called malignant astrocytoma or grade 3 astrocytoma, are gliomas - tumors that develop from the glial cells (called astrocytes) that support nerves.
Astrocytoma tumors are classified in one of four grade categories, with grade 1 being the least aggressive and grade 4 the most aggressive. Anaplastic astrocytoma tumors are aggressive and consist of tentacle-like projections that invade surrounding tissue.
General symptoms include:
- Weakness on one side of the body
- Problems with balance
- Behavior, memory and personality changes
Anaplastic Astrocytoma Treatment
Aggressive treatment is often recommended. Treatment can vary according to tumor size, location and how far the tumor has spread, but in general surgery is the first step. The goals of surgery include:
- Removal of as much of the tumor as possible
- Getting tissue samples for further analysis and treatment planning
- Reduction of symptoms
Because of their reach, scope and tenacity, anaplastic astrocytoma tumors are difficult to fully remove during surgery. As a result, radiation therapy is a logical second step in treatment.
- Learn more about UW Carbone Cancer Center radiation therapy options
- Before, During and After Radiation Therapy
Anaplastic astrocytoma tumors often recur and do so as grade 4 astrocytoma tumors, which of course necessitates a fresh review of treatment options.
Information compiled based on research culled from the American Brain Tumor Association Web site.