Glioma: A Guide for Patients

Guides for Patients are designed to assist patients, their relatives and caregivers to better understand the nature of different types of cancer and evaluate the best available treatment choices.

What is glioma?

Gliomas represent a group of malignancies that may arise anywhere in the central nervous system (CNS), meaning in the brain or, much less frequently, in the spinal cord. They are characterised by an infiltrative pattern of growth and/or a tendency for spreading locally within the CNS. Gliomas are usually named according to the type of nervous cells which they derive from (astrocytes, oligodendrocytes or ependymal cells).

The classification of gliomas follows a scale from I to IV, which reflects the rate of tumour growth as well as its aggressiveness. Grade I tumours, which occur mainly in childhood, are associated with the best prognosis. Grade II (low grade gliomas) represent slowly growing and infiltrative tumours with intermediate prognosis. On the other hand, grade III (anaplastic) and grade IV (glioblastoma) tumours are both considered to be high grade gliomas, as they are aggressive and generally have the least favourable prognosis. The present guide focuses on the management of low grade gliomas, anaplastic gliomas and glioblastoma.

Beyond a definition of glioma, in this guide for patients you will find answers to questions such as:

  • Is glioma frequent?
  • What causes glioma?
  • How is glioma diagnosed?
  • What is important to know to get the optimal treatment?
  • What are the treatment options?
  • What are the possible side effects of the treatments?
  • What happens after the treatment?

This guide for patients has been prepared in collaboration with Anticancer Fund as a service to patients, to help patients and their relatives better understand the nature of bone sarcomas and appreciate the best treatment choices available according to the subtype of bone sarcoma. ESMO recommends that patients ask their doctors about what tests or types of treatments are needed for their type and stage of disease.

Patient Guide for Glioma was published in 2016.