Gliomatosis cerebri is a rare, highly aggressive, malignant astrocytic tumor. A variant of glioblastoma multiforme, it is characterized by scattered and widespread tumor cells that cause multiple parts of the brain to enlarge. Because this type of tumor is so diffuse, it can be challenging to treat and the prognosis is generally poor. These tumors usually progress like a grade IV glioblastoma multiforme (the most malignant form of brain tumor), aggressively invading normal brain tissue.
Patients with gliomatosis cerebri are treated at Dana-Farber Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center through the Brain Tumor Center. Continue reading to learn more about gliomatosis cerebri or visit the Brain Tumor Center homepage to learn about our expertise with this condition.
Symptoms of gliomatosis cerebri may develop slowly and subtly or they may appear more abruptly. Common symptoms include:
Gliomatosis cerebri is most commonly diagnosed with diagnostic imaging, including a magnetic resonance spectroscopy, which is done with MRI to detect the presence of organic compounds within sample tissue that can identify normal or tumor tissue and may also be able to tell if the tumor is a glial tumor or of neuronal origin.
Since these tumors appear to have no primary location and grow aggressively, biopsies can be performed but removal of all of the tumor is not possible. After all tests are completed, doctors will be able to outline the best treatment options.
Mark Kieran, MD, PhD, provides a one-hour presentation for parents on latest approaches to treating brain tumors; sponsored by American Brain Tumor Association.