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:
- 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 and tenacity, anaplastic astrocytomas 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 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.