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Types, symptoms, treatment and prognosis of astrocytoma of the brain

Astrocytoma brain is a tumor. Called glial astrocytoma brain tumor (glioma). Glioma develops from the astrocytes. They are one of the types of brain cells, regulating the amount of interstitial fluid and ensure the existence of neurons in the brain. These support cells have the ability to reproduce, but if this process of reproduction goes out of control, the occurrence of tumors. This type of cell is called “glial cells”. Glioma refers to a group of varieties of brain tumors, and astrocytoma is one of the most common forms.

brain Tumor

The international classification of diseases tenth reading (ICD 10) includes an astrocytoma in the category of malignant neoplasms of the brain. This type of tumor may occur in humans at any age and on any area of the brain. The most common its occurrence in the following locations:

  • large hemispheres of the brain (usually in adulthood);
  • the connection with the spinal cord (the brain stem) astrocytoma of spinal cord;
  • the cerebellum (mostly in children)
  • optic nerve in children.

The Exact causes of occurrence of this tumor cannot be determined, but the known factors contribute to Alzheimer's disease: genetic predisposition to cancer, exposure to adverse environmental factors (radiation, harmful chemicals). If the patient previously had a disease caused by viruses of high oncogenic potential, it increases the risk of developing this tumor.

Astrocytoma: types and features

Astrocytomas are classified according to the degree of malignancy in several types.

Scheme astrocytoma brain

Identify the following types of astrocytomas:

  1. Polycitra (polodna) is a benign tumor with clear boundaries, develops in the cerebellum or in the brainstem. The distinctive feature of this tumor is that it grows very slowly. Polodna form is most common in children and accounts for about 10% of cases astrocytoma. This type of tumor has a first degree of malignancy and is curable with surgery.
  2. , Protoplasmic – can be formed on the surface of the gray matter of the brain or cortical structures. The peculiarity of this tumor is that it doesn't invade into healthy brain tissue and therefore surgical treatment can be successfully conducted. This tumor is characterized by slow growth and has a relatively benign nature (2nd grade).
  3. Fibrillar (diffuse). This is a more severe form of the disease, has a second degree of malignancy. It is characterized by intensive growth, has no clear boundaries, and surgical treatment does not guarantee complete relief from this disease.
  4. Anaplastic – has the third degree of malignancy, is characterized by the absence of clear boundaries and rapid growth. Feature of anaplastic forms is that the tumor grows in brain tissue and therefore its removal by surgery is very difficult.
  5. Glioblastoma is a brain tumor, which is characterized by a 4th degree of malignancy, the most severe form of astrocytoma. Its peculiarity is that it quickly increases in volume, is growing rapidly. The tumor also grows deep in the brain tissue, so surgery to remove it is not always possible. Distinguish 3 types of glioblastoma: gliosarcoma, giant cell and multiform glioblastoma.

manifestations, and diagnosis of tumors

Knowledge of symptoms will help to identify a brain tumor in the early stages and prevent its possible further development and adverse outcome.

Headache is a symptom astrocytoma brain

The Symptoms of astrocytomas can vary, they depend on its size and localization.

But there is a common symptoms characteristic of all types of neoplasms:

  • speech disorders and memory;
  • headache or dizziness;
  • constant feeling of weakness;
  • changes in weight – sudden increase or decrease
  • a feeling of nausea and the urge to vomit;
  • hypertension
  • loss of coordination
  • blurred vision;
  • changeable mood and changes in behavior;
  • epileptic seizures and convulsions.

brain MRI for the diagnosis of the disease

Diagnosis of astrocytoma of the brain are conducted through the following methods:

  • computed tomography (CT)
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI);
  • biopsy
  • angiography.

With the help of computer tomography by x-raysplays a circular picture of the brain. Using MRI to explore the anatomy of the brain. This method allows us to determine if the astrocytoma brain at the earliest stages. The data thus obtained are of high accuracy and information content that will enable the specialist to correctly diagnose it. This diagnostic technique is perfectly safe and harmless for the patient.

Diagnosis of a brain tumor in this way is not carried out if, a patient has implants or metallic foreign body, and in case of impossibility of the individual to move the body throughout the procedure of the survey.

Study of biopsy material

When biopsy samples are withdrawn the brain tissue for further research to determine if they contain cancer cells. Angiogram involves obtaining x-ray of the arteries and blood vessels of the brain through the administration of contrast agent.

Tactics and methods of therapy

Methods for the treatment of astrocytomas depend on the degree of malignancy and tumor size, its location.

Treatment includes the following interventions:

  • complete or partial surgical removal
  • radiation therapy
  • chemotherapy.

If the tumor has penetrated into the healthy tissue, we performed a partial removal. If the tumor has clearly defined boundaries and does not affect healthy cells, then undergo a radical removal of the tumor. Radiation therapy destroys or stops tumor development. Chemotherapy is using drugs – they destroy the cancer cells. Take medicines (pills, injections, intravenous infusion) into the bloodstream and spreading throughout the body, affect cancer cells through toxic effects on them.

Surgical removal of an astrocytoma of the brain

Treatment of pilocytic astrocytoma is by surgical removal, but if it is not possible to remove it completely (in the case of its occurrence in the hypothalamus or the brain stem), then receive chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The forecast favorable survival is 15 years or more. In the absence of adequate treatment it can grow into malignant stage. If, protoplasmic astrocytoma has a surface location, then removing it surgically is possible. Otherwise, the treatment is supplemented by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. With timely medical care the prognosis of survival is favorable.

Treatment of fibrous tumors includes surgical technique, and is supplemented by radiation therapy in case of impossibility of its radical removal. Young patient age, small tumor size and the maximum possible removal of it allows you to give a favorable prognosis for life and survival. Combination treatment provided for anaplastic astrocytomas – surgical removal, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Duration of life after treatment is about 3 years. This form of tumor has a tendency to transform into the most malignant form of astrocytoma is glioblastoma multiforme. Treatment for glioblastoma involves also a combined version. For patients with this diagnosis the prognosis is not favorable, the life expectancy of 1-2 years during treatment.