Astrocytomas are the most frequently diagnosed tumors, are usually slow growing, and may develop a cystic component. Arising in astrocytic cells anywhere throughout the central nervous system, they may occur in any age group but are most frequently diagnosed in middle-aged males. The highest incidence of brain stem astrocytomas is found in children. Grading systems focus on the degree of resemblance to normal astrocytes, with higher grades associated with more rapid growth and greater likelihood of metastasis. Three common types of astrocytomas are low-grade astrocytomas, which are often benign and tend to occur in the cerebellum (especially in children) but may also occur in the cerebrum in adults; anaplastic astrocytomas, which are malignant; and glioblastoma multiforme, which are thought to arise from astrocytomas and are the most malignant.
The specific symptoms associated with astrocytomas depend on the region of the CNS that is affected. A low-grade astrocytoma may...
References and Readings
- Louis, D., Ohgaki, H., Cavenee, W., & Wiestler, O. (2007). WHO classification of tumours of the central nervous system (4th ed.). Louis: World Health Organization.Google Scholar