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Astrocytomas are tumors that arise from astrocyte cells - part of the supportive (neuroglial) tissue of the brain. Astrocytomas account for about half of all primary tumors of the brain and spinal cord.

Glioblastomas are fast growing astrocytomas that contain areas of dead tumor cells (necrosis). Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), the most common type of grade IV tumor, tends to invade adjacent brain tissue and to spread throughout the central nervous system. Variants of GBM include gliosarcomas and giant cell glioblastomas.

GBMs occur most often in the cerebrum, especially in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. They rarely occur in the brain stem or cerebellum.

GBM represents about 30% of all primary brain tumors and about 50% of the astrocytomas. It is more common in older adults and affects more men than women. Nine percent of childhood brain tumors are glioblastomas.

Glioblastomas can be very difficult to treat. Methods include surgery, chemotherapy, surgery and steroids.

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