learn more about glioblastoma

Gliomas are tumours that originate from brain tissue support cells.

They can be primary, originating from the very cells that make up the various brain structures, or metastatic, which disseminate to the brain from other extracerebral locations. Metastatic gliomas are 10 times more common than primary brain tumours.

The majority are difficult of identify and consist of tumours with a solid component and a diffuse component, with a variable extent.

The solid component can often be operated on and eliminated. The diffuse component should be treated with radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy but is very often responsible for tumour regrowth.

Grade I gliomas are the most benign and are often not diffuse. The diffuse gliomas can be grade II, III or IV. As the grade increases, the faster the gliomas grow and the more difficult they are to treat.

Imagen preview del infográfico del microscopio fluorescente para los tumores cerebrales
The use of fluorescent microscope for the removal of brain tumors. [Infography only available in Spanish]
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Las investigaciones han demostrado que el índice de supervivencia o de curación de los tumores cerebrales depende, en buena medida, de la extirpación total del tumor. Esto resulta complejo en el caso de tumores cerebrales malignos debido a su forma difusa que dificulta su diferenciación del tejido cerebral sano. En la Clínica Universidad de Navarra se realiza la cirugía de extirpación de tumores cerebrales malignos con un microscopio fluorescente  que, a través de una sustancia inocua para el paciente, puede  identificar completamente la zona tumoral y diferenciarla de la zona  sana, consiguiendo una extirpación total del tumor en el 83% de los  casos, frente al 30% que se lograba anteriormente.
Treatment of brain tumours [Video only available in Spanish]
La Clínica pone en marcha un ensayo clínico para tratar el tumor cerebral más agresivo, el glioblastoma, con vacunas celulares personalizadas. La Clínica es el único centro español que realiza un estudio para el  tratamiento de los glioblastomas con inmunoterapia.  La nueva terapia,  que se administra a los pacientes participantes en  forma de vacunas, se  combina con el tratamiento estándar de primera  línea. Consiste en la  extirpación quirúrgica del tumor mediante microscopio fluorescente, seguida de la  administración de  radioterapia y quimioterapia con temozolomida.
Personalized cell vaccines. [Video only available in Spanish]
  • Headache is the most common nonspecific symptom. However, in many cases, its presence does not lead us to suspect a brain tumour.
  • The symptoms resulting from increased intracranial pressure, such as drowsiness, can be more indicative of the presence of a glioma.
  • There are other more specific signs and symptoms that appear depending on the location of the disease, such as focal signs (loss of strength, difficulty speaking and visual field defects), seizures and haemorrhaging.

There is no known cause for the onset of gliomas.

Less than 5% of gliomas have a known family history.

Moreover, there are various degenerative brain diseases that predispose patients to gliomas.

The frequent use of mobile telephones has not been shown to cause a greater incidence of these brain tumours.

The prognosis depends mainly on the tumour’s aggressiveness.

In adults, 60% of primary brain tumours are gliomas or astrocytomas.

Low-grade I and II gliomas.

The factors for a good prognosis include the following:

  • Younger than 40 years of age.
  • Tumour diameter less than 6 cm.
  • Tumour that does not exceed the midline.
  • Oligoastrocytoma histological type.
  • Absence of neurological deficits.

Survival for these patients with high-grade tumours varies between 2 and 9 years depending on the prognosis group.

Grade III and IV gliomas

The factors for a good prognosis include the following:

  • Age (younger than 40 years).
  • Good general condition with autonomy.
  • Normal mental state.
  • Achieving a complete surgical resection.

Survival for these patients with high-grade tumours varies between 2 and 6 years depending on the prognosis group.

Laboratory plasma tests can be used for patients who, due to the tumour’s inaccessible location or the patient’s highly deteriorated general condition, cannot undergo surgery.”

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