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, may not be life-threatening, and may be 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 colon) 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 tend to invade surrounding tissue and grow at a relatively slow pace.
Anaplastic astrocytomas are rare tumors that tend to have tentacle- like projections that grow into surrounding tissue, making them difficult to completely remove during surgery.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) are fast-growing, aggressive malignant (Grade IV) tumors that are infiltrative and invade into nearby regions of the brain. There are two types of glioblastoma—primary, or de novo, and secondary. Primary glioblastomas begin as a grade IV tumor with no evidence of a lower grade precursor. Secondary tumors are those which originate as a lower-grade tumor and evolve into a grade IV tumor.
GLIADEL Wafer is not indicated FOR USE IN LOW-GRADE ASTROCYTOMAS.
Oligodendrogliomas: These tumors originate from the cell types which comprise the supportive or glial tissue of the brain. These cell types are known as oligodendrocytes. Oligodendrocytes have a “short arm” fried egg appearance when viewed under the microscope, while astrocytomas have a “long arm” star-like appearance to them.
Anaplastic oligodendrogliomas are aggressive tumors that arise in oligodendrocytes that grow quickly. Anaplastic oligodendrogliomas are considered high-grade (Grade III).
Anaplastic oligoastrocytoma is a brain tumor which forms into a mass by the rapid increase of two types of brain cells (oligodendrocytes and astrocytes). Anaplastic oligoastrocytomas can occasionally contain grade IV astrocytoma cells.