Glioblastoma Multiforme

Contact Information

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


Health Facts for You

Brain Tumors in Adults

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 is glioblastoma multiforme?


Glioblastoma multiforme is the name given to the most malignant types of tumors that originate in the brain's supportive tissue (glioma). These tumors are also called grade IV astrocytoma.


Yearly, five out of every 100,000 Americans are diagnosed with glioblastoma. These tumors are the most common of the primary malignant brain tumors.


Glioblastoma multiforme is more common in older adults (age 45-55) and more common in men than women. These tumors also affect children, though less than 10 percent of pediatric brain tumors are glioblatoma multiforme.


What causes glioblastoma multiforme?


Though researchers have identified specific chromosomes as key in the development of glioblastoma multiforme, the cause of these tumors remain unknown.




Glioblastoma mulitiforme symptoms depend on tumor location. General symptoms for metastatic brain tumors include:

  • Headaches
  • Weakness on one side of the body
  • Problems with balance
  • Seizures
  • Behavior, memory and personality changes

Glioblastoma Mulitiforme Treatment


Treatment plans are dependent upon the numbers of tumors, tumor location and the primary cancer. Surgery is frequently the preferred method of treating glioblastoma multiforme. However, because these tumors take the shape of tentacles, they usually cannot be completely removed with surgery. Radiation can be used to treat the remnants of the tumors, as can chemotherapy.


For some patients, UW Health brain tumor doctors may use the Optune® device as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for patients with glioblastoma multiforme brain tumors.