Glioblastoma Multiforme – Life Expectancy, Stage 4, Survival Rate, Symptoms, Prognosis

What is Glioblastoma Multiforme?

Glioblastoma Multiforme is referred as Grade IV Astrocytoma. Glioblastoma Multiforme is one of the commonly occurring and aggressive malignant primary tumors that develop in the human brain.  The brain tumor consists mostly of glial cells and interrupts the functioning of brain tissues.  However, the rate of occurrence of Grade IV Astrocytoma is very rare, and only 2-3 cases of such tumors were reported per 100,000 people. Grade IV Astrocytoma is not completely curable, and the treatment for the condition involves various therapies like Immunotherapy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. With temozolomide chemotherapy, the median survival period is reported to be almost 15 months. Without treating the condition, the patient suffering from glioblastoma multiform survives only 4-5 months. The Grade IV Astrocytoma sometimes damages the nerves in brain causing dysfunction of normal brain activities like memory, vision, movement,

glioblastoma multiforme

Picture 1- Circle showing Glioblastoma. Source –

Symptoms of Glioblastoma Multiforme

Glioblastoma Multiforme is a type of aggressive tumor that grows and damages the nearby nerves and brain tissues causing temporary or permanent impairment of vision, hearing, memory, movement and thoughts. Sometimes, the tumor causes swelling in the brain that leads to fluid buildup and directly disrupts brain functioning. Listed below are the most common symptoms of Glioblastoma Multiforme.

  •    Occurrence of frequent headache and the headache worsens in morning hours.
  •    Frequent vomiting and nausea
  •    Temporary memory loss due to growing tumor
  •    Seizures in brain tissues and swelling
  •    Difficulty to concentrate in wok
  •    Frequent change in mood and regular mood swing
  •    Change in speech, vision, hearing and movement
  •    Feeling of paralysis in some area of the body
  •    Feeling tired and exhausted
  •    Improper functioning of neuron & endocrine system.

Sometimes the symptoms of Glioblastoma Multiforme are misunderstood with other common diseases. Thus, if the symptoms persists even after undergoing medication then immediate medical consultation is advisable.

Causes of Glioblastoma Multiforme

It has been noted that glioblastoma multiforme mostly occurs in males. The appearance of Grade IV Astrocytoma has no genetic linkage. The exact reason behind the occurrence of the disease is not known. Researchers have claimed that they have not discovered any linkage of glioblastoma multiforme with smoking and overexposure to radiation, but alcoholism might be a possible risk factor. Viruses such as SV40, HHV-6, and cytomegalovirus are linked with the occurrence of glioblastoma multiforme. Polyvinyl chloride used in construction might have some linkage with the disease.  Researchers in the year 2006 presented a research that mentioned that malaria causing anopheles mosquitoes are possible carrier of glioblastoma multiforme causing agent. Other risk factors associated with glioblastoma multiforme are :

  • The condition is common in males than in females.
  • A person above the age of 50 is vulnerable to glioblastoma multiforme
  • Caucasians, Hispanics, and Asians race is vulnerable to glioblastoma multiforme
  • Presence of the genetic disorder such as Neurofibromatosis, Tuberous sclerosis, Li-Fraumeni syndrome and Turcot syndrome increases the chances of glioblastoma multiform

Treatment for glioblastoma multiforme

Scientists have not able to discover the proper treatment for the condition. Glioblastoma multiforme is not curable, but treatments are available in order to relief pain of the patients suffering from glioblastoma multiforme. The treatment given to the patients struggling from the condition improves the quality of life and increases the survival period. The treatment given to the patient depends on the condition of the patient and the stage of disease. Following are the treatment given to the patients suffering from glioblastoma multiforme.

  • Surgery – Surgery is the first and primary step of treatment. If the tumor is in removable condition then, surgery is the best treatment option. Sometimes, the tumor develops tentacles that invade nearby tissues, in such cases surgery becomes difficult thus other treatment options were used.
  • Radiation therapy – In this therapy, High energy x-ray beam is focused on the tumor site that reduces the growth rate of tumor. Sometimes radioactive substances are used to generate high energy ray to kill the cancerous cells. Mostly patents in III AND IV stage of glioblastoma multiforme are given proton therapy.
  • Chemotherapy – In chemotherapy, doctors uses drugs to kill the cancer cells and stops the growth of tumor. Chemotherapy can be taken orally or via injections. In chemotherapy, drugs were used to kill the tumor cells damaging the brain tissues. The drugs used in the treatment help in reducing swelling, pain and controls seizures.

Stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme Life expectancy

Stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme is the last stage of brain tumor. For the patient in IV stage of glioblastoma multiforme, the rate of survival diminishes. With treatment, the patient can hardly live two years as the disease is not curable. In this stage, the tumor travels and spreads in another part of the body. In generally the life expectancy of the patient detected with stage for cancer varies from few months to two years. The average life expectancy of the patient above 60 years is one years. If an adult detected with the diseases is of 40 years of age, then chances are there that he can survive up to five more years.

Prognosis and Survival Rate

Once the disease is diagnosed then the patient can survive 3 months without any treatment. But with the treatment and medical consultation, the patient suffering from glioblastoma multiforme can survive up to 1-2 years. Increased intracranial pressure and cerebral edema increases the death rate. The brain tumors which are caused due to glioblastoma multiforme are generally malignant in nature and grow aggressively. Young patients suffering from the condition have high chances of survival where as older patents do not have a favorable outcome. Infants born with glioblastoma multiforme have only 30 percent survival rate and with treatment they can survive for five more years. The survival chances in glioblastoma multiforme generally depend on the stage and condition of the disease.

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