Brain Tumors

Primary brain tumors are tumors that form from cells within the brain. The tumors are categorized by the type of cell in which it first develops.

There are over 120 different types of brain tumors (National Brain Tumor Society). The most common primary brain tumors are called gliomas, which originate in the glial (supportive) tissue. About one third of all primary brain tumors and other nervous system tumors form from glial cells.

There are a number of different types of gliomas, including the following:

Astrocytomas develop from small, star-shaped cells called astrocytes, and may arise anywhere in the brain or spinal cord. Astrocytomas are the most common primary CNS tumor. In adults, astrocytomas most often occur in the cerebrum, which is the largest part of the brain. The cerebrum uses sensory information to tell us what’s going on around us and how our body should respond. The left hemisphere controls the muscles on the right side of the body, while the right hemisphere controls the muscles on the left. The cerebrum also controls speech, movement, and emotions, as well as reading, thinking and learning.

Grade I: Pilocytic astrocytoma

Grade II: Diffuse astrocytoma / Low-grade astrocytoma

Grade III: Anaplastic astrocytoma

Grade IV: Glioblastomas (also called glioblastoma multiforme, GBM, or grade IV astrocytoma). Anaplastic astrocytomas and glioblastomas are malignant astrocytomas that grow and spread aggressively, accounting for more than 50 percent of all astrocytomas. Glioblastomas occur most often in adults between the ages of 50 and 70.

Brain stem gliomas arise in the brain stem, which controls many vital functions, such as body temperature, blood pressure, breathing, hunger, and thirst. The brain stem also serves to transmit all the signals to the body from the brain. The brain stem is in the lowest part of the brain, and connects the brain and spinal cord. Tumors in this area can be difficult to treat. Most brain stem gliomas are high-grade astrocytomas.

Ependymomas usually occur in the lining of the ventricles, or spaces in the brain and around the spinal cord. Although ependymomas can develop at any age, these brain cancer tumors most commonly arise in children and adolescents. Ependymomas are also a common spinal cord tumor.

Oligodendrogliomas develop in the cells that produce myelin, the fatty covering that protects nerves in the brain and spinal cord. These tumors are very rare, and usually occur in the cerebrum. They are slow growing and generally do not spread into surrounding brain tissue. These brain tumors occur most often in middle-aged adults. They generally carry a more favorable prognosis as compared to astrocytomas.

Mixed gliomas have two types of tumor cells: oligodendrocytes and astrocytes. This type of brain tumor most often forms in the cerebrum.

Side Effects

The side effects you may experience will depend on the area being treated, the type of radiation used and whether or not you also received chemotherapy. Before treatment, your doctor will describe what you can expect.

Some patients experience minor or no side effects and can continue their normal routines.

If at any time you develop side effects, tell your doctor or nurse. He or she can give you medicine to help.

Clincal Trials

IRB # 1505016229 A First-in-Human Study of Repeat Dosing with REGN2810, a Monoclonal, Fully Human Antibody to Programmed Death - 1 (PD-1), as Single Therapy and in Combination with Other Anti-Cancer Therapies in Patients with Advanced Malignancies NCT02383212
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This study is currently recruiting participants.

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