A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of cells in the brain and there are many different types of them. In general, they are described as benign or malignant, and as primary or metastatic.
Benign Versus Malignant Brain Tumors
A benign tumor contains noncancerous cells, is typically not life threatening, and is treated primarily with surgery. A malignant tumor contains cancerous cells, often grows rapidly, and is life-threatening.
Primary Versus Metastatic Brain Tumors
A brain tumor can start in the brain or in other parts of the body. If the tumor starts in the brain, it is called a primary brain tumor. Primary tumors can be benign or malignant. If cancer cells that originate in other parts of the body (such as the breast, lung, or kidney) travel to the brain, they are called metastatic brain tumors. All metastatic brain tumors are malignant.
GLIADEL Wafer is not indicated in patients with metastatic brain tumors.
Types of Gliomas
Glioma is a general term used to describe a tumor that grows out of the brain’s supportive cells called glial cells. Gliomas are the most common type of primary malignant brain tumor.
Astrocytomas are the most common type of glioma found in adults. These tumors originate from astrocytes – the star-shaped cells that create the supportive tissue of the brain.
Low-grade astrocytomas are slow-growing tumors that may be located in the cerebrum or the cerebellum parts of the brain with a low risk of spreading. Diffuse astrocytomas (grade II) are slow growing and still considered low grade, but may infiltrate the surrounding tissue.
Anaplastic astrocytomas are faster-growing tumors that are characterized by tentacle-like projections that spread into surrounding brain tissue.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most malignant type of astrocytoma. These tumors have the ability to form new blood vessels that help maintain their growth even after treatment.
GLIADEL Wafer is not indicated FOR USE IN LOW-GRADE ASTROCYTOMAS.
Oligodendrogliomas are tumors that originate as oligodenrocytes, another one of the types of cells found in the supportive tissue of the brain. Under the microscope, these cells have short arms and a definitive “fried-egg” appearance that stands out from the more common star-shaped astrocytomas.
Anaplastic oligodendrogliomas are aggressive tumors that arise in oligodendrocytes that grow quickly. They are characterized by excessive growth of blood vessels that form clusters or branches in the brain tissue and areas of dead cells and tissue.
Anaplastic oligoastrocytomas are gliomas that contain both oligodendrocytes and astrocytes. Like anaplastic oligodendrogliomas, they have rapid growth of blood vessels and areas of dead cells and tissue.