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Glioblastoma Brain Tumors: Treatment, Signs & Symptoms

Glioblastoma brain tumors are basically high-grade astrocytomas & which are also known as glioblastoma multiforme or GBM in short. Glioblastoma brain tumors are cancerous brain tumors which most frequently occur in middle-aged & older adults. GBM are a type of glioma & which typically originate in connective cells of brain known as glial. Glial cells are star-shaped cells & are termed astrocytes. Astrocytes are found to occur throughout brain & spine; so also GBM tumors can occur in a wide variety of locations all around the central nervous system. However, most commonly GBM develop in central hemispheres, where they also infiltrate surrounding brain tissues & therefore make it difficult to surgically remove the tumor. Gliomas are the most common type of primary brain tumors which are found in adults.

Signs & Symptoms of Glioblastoma Brain Tumors

Clinical history of GBM patients is usually short, less than 3 months in more than 50 percent of the cases. Common signs & symptoms of GBM include the following.

Signs and Symptoms of Glioblastoma Brain Tumors


  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Slow progressive neurological deficit usually includes motor weakness
  • Generalized symptoms include increase in intracranial pressure causing cognitive impairment, headaches, nausea & vomiting

Neurologic signs & symptoms may either be general or focal & reflecting the location of the tumor.

  • General symptoms include slowing of cognitive function, personality changes, headaches, nausea & vomiting
  • Focal signs & symptoms include visual loss, sensory loss, aphasia, hemiparesis & others

Etiology of Glioblastoma brain tumors is unknown in most cases. Suggested causes of brain tumor however include the following.

  • Race
  • Genetic Factors
  • Head Injuries
  • N-Nitroso Compounds
  • Occupational Hazards
  • Electromagnetic Field Exposure (inconclusive)
  • Cell Phone Use (controversial)

Also Read: Brain Tumor Surgery Recovery & Aftercare 

Diagnosing Glioblastoma Brain Tumors

There are no specific laboratory tests which can help diagnose GBM tumors. However, tumor genetics are quite useful in predicting possible response to adjuvant therapy. Nevertheless, imaging examinations of brain are essential for making proper diagnosis. Some of these include the following.

Diagnosing Glioblastoma Brain Tumors


  • Computed Tomography – CT Scans
  • MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging, with or without contrast
  • Positron Emission Tomography – PT Scans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Cerebral Angiography (not necessarily)

Other diagnostic measures which may also be considered include the following

  • Electroencephalography – This may show suggestive findings while specific GBM findings may not be observed
  • Lumbar Puncture – This is for contraindication & is occasionally required for ruling out Lymphoma
  • Cerebrospinal fluid analysis may not significantly facilitate specific diagnosis of GBM tumors

However, in most cases of GBM tumors, complete staging is neither possible nor practical. GBM tumors do not have any clearly defined margins & generally tend to invade locally while spreading along white matter pathways & creating appearance of multiple glioblastoma brain tumors or multicentric gliomas upon imaging studies.

Also Read: Meningioma Brain Tumors

Treatment for Glioblastoma Brain Tumor

Presently, there is no treatment which is curative for glioblastoma brain tumors. However, standard treatments consist of the following.

  • Maximal surgical resection along with radiotherapy & concomitant & adjuvant chemotherapy with temozolomide
  • Less aggressive therapy is sometimes considered for patients older than 70 years by using temozolomide or radiation alone

Key points regarding radiotherapy for Glioblastoma brain tumors include the following.

  • Application of radiotherapy along with surgery increases survival
  • Response of GBM to radiotherapy varies
  • Interstitial Brachytherapy for GBM is limitedly useful & rarely used
  • Radiosensitizers like the new chemotherapeutic agents, antiangiogenic agents & targeted molecular agents can increase therapeutic effect of radiotherapy.
  • Application of radiotherapy for recurrent GBM is controversial

Optimal chemotherapeutic regimen for GBM is not yet clearly defined, but adjuvant chemotherapy is found to yield significant benefits of survival in more than 25 percent of the patients.

Since glioblastoma brain tumors cannot be surgically cured, goals of surgical intervention remain as follows.

  • Establishing a pathologic diagnosis
  • Relieving any mass effect
  • Achieving gross total resection so as to facilitate adjuvant therapy whenever possible
  • Extent of surgery has shown in a number of studies to affect the survival of GBM patients. Surgical options however include the following.
    • Gross Total Resection for better survival
    • Subtotal Resection

Stereotactic biopsy is followed by radiation therapy in some cases like for patients whose GBM is located in eloquent areas of the brain, patients in poor medical condition who cannot afford to undergo general anesthesia & for patients whose GBM tumors have minimal mass effect.

Also Read: Different Types of Brain Tumor Surgery

Affordable Treatment for Glioblastoma Brain Tumor in India

India is in fact one of the best places on earth for international patients to avail affordable treatment for glioblastoma brain tumor. Indian healthcare sector comprises of some of the best neurosurgeons & radiologists alongside numerous nationally & internationally accredited specialty & multispecialty hospital facilities which provide low cost medical procedures when compared to availability in other countries. IndianMedTrip is a globally reputed one-stop healthcare tourism company which is associated with top neurosurgeons & multispecialty hospital facilities in order to provide excellent quality of medical procedures including treatments for glioblastoma brain tumors to people from all around the world at reasonable costs.


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