American Family Children's Hospital

Anaplastic Astrocytoma

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(608) 263-8500
(800) 323-8942


Health Information

Astrocytoma (Brain Tumors)

The UW Health Brain Tumor Center in Madison, Wisconsin provides comprehensive treatment for patients with brain tumors. Working in concert with the UW Carbone Cancer Center, our multidisciplinary team sees more than 1,200 brain tumor patients annually with common as well as rare brain cancers.


What are anaplastic astrocytomas?


Anaplastic astrocytomas, also called grade 3 astrocytomas, are gliomas – tumors that develop from glial cells (called astrocytes) that support nervous tissue.


Astrocytomas are classified in one of four grade categories, with grade 1 being the least aggressive and grade 4 the most aggressive. Anaplastic astrocytomas are aggressive and consist of tentacle-like projections that invade surrounding tissue.




General symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Weakness on one side of the body
  • Problems with balance
  • Seizures
  • 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 and tenacity, anaplastic astrocytomas are difficult to fully remove during surgery. As a result, radiation therapy is a logical second step in treatment.

Tumor Recurrence


Anaplastic astrocytomas often recur and do so as grade 4 astrocytomas, which necessitates a fresh review of treatment options.


Information compiled based on research culled from the American Brain Tumor Association Web site.