Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment of Anaplastic Astrocytoma
Symptoms of a brain tumor include altered mental state, cognitive impairment, seizures, headaches, impaired vision and motor skills. Symptoms depend on the location of the tumor in the CNS.
Diagnosis is generally by clinical and radiographic examination (CT scan or MRI). However this must be confirmed by histology. Despite advances in brain tumor imaging, a definite diagnosis requires microscopic examination of tumor tissue. Anaplastic astrocytoma is a distinct histological classification, being characterized by abundant pleomorphic astrocytes with evidence of mitosis.
Brain tumor treatment is usually surgical resection, followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Despite treatment, nearly all high-grade astrocytomas show tumor recurrence or progression within a few years. Recurrent tumors are less responsive to treatment.
No specific causes/risk factors for anaplastic astrocytoma brain tumor have been identified to date. The poor success rate in treatment is attributed to the high molecular variability of these tumors. Also, because of the location in the CNS, it can be difficult to deliver treatment to the tumor site. It is hoped that increased knowledge of how these tumors behave at the molecular level will lead to improved treatment and outcome for these patients.