Astrocytoma

Also known as: low-grade astrocytoma, high-grade astrocytoma

What is an astrocytoma?

An Astrocytoma is a form of brain tumor (benign or cancerous), that develops in the cells that form the supportive tissue of the brain. These are known as astrocytes (a type of glial cell). About half of tumors of the brain in children are astrocytomas.

These tumors may be:

  • "slow-growing" (low grade- Grade 1 or 2) or
  • "fast-growing" (high-grade- Grade 3 or 4)

Most astrocytomas in children tend to be "low grade".

What causes astrocytoma?

The causes are unknown, however risk factors (those things that increase the likelihood of the tumor developing) include previous radiation to the brain, and having certain genetic disorders.

What are the symptoms of astrocytoma?

As an astrocytomas grows it causes pressure on the surrounding brain tissue. Symptoms therefore depend the position of the tumor and its size. Common symptoms include headache, frequent vomiting, eye problems (blurry vision, double vision or blindness), confusion, drowsiness, behavioral changes, confusion, seizures, difficulty walking, etc.

What are astrocytoma care options?

Depending on the location, tumor type, and stage, treatments will vary. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: December 16, 2020 11:38 AM

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