An astrocytoma is a glioma that develops from star-shaped glial cells (astrocytes) that support nerve cells. An anaplastic astrocytoma is classified as a grade III tumor.
- Grows faster and more aggressively than grade II astrocytomas
- Tumor cells are not uniform in appearance
- Invades neighboring tissue
- Common among men and women in their 30s-50s
- More common in men than women
- Accounts for two percent of all brain tumors
Treatment depends on the location of the tumor and how far it has progressed. Surgery and radiation therapy, with chemotherapy during or following radiation, are the standard treatments. If surgery is not an option, then the doctor may recommend radiation and/or chemotherapy. Many clinical trials (experimental treatments) using radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination are available for initial and recurrent anaplastic astrocytomas.