Therapies and life expectancy of a glioma

10 August 2019 1 By Roberto Pugliese

There are different therapeutic approaches for the treatment of gliomas. The choice of a specific course of therapies and the exclusion of another depends on the location, size, grade and type of glioma, age and health status of the patient.

The most commonly practiced treatment is the surgical removal of the tumor mass. The other treatments adopted are radiotherapy, chemotherapy and radiosurgery. These can be put in place either after the surgical removal operation, as a completion of this, or as a stand-alone treatment, if the tumor is in an inaccessible position.

Patients with first and second degree gliomas are encouraged to have it removed by surgery, as this operation is usually quite successful. Should the surgeon opt for a partial resection of the tumor at the end of the operation, radiotherapy or chemotherapy sessions will be held.

The removal of the III grade gliomas should always be done if it is within a reachable location and within the limits of the possible, that is, the more tumor mass can be removed the better. At the end of the procedure, the radiotherapy and / or chemotherapy cycles are fundamental to eliminate (hopefully permanently) what remains of the neoplasm. Unfortunately, even when the surgery is performed in a precise and timely manner, the chances of recovery are very small.

The glioblastoma multiforme ( GBM ) is a grade IV glioma and is the most common severe glioma. The GBM has a fast growth rate and a remarkable infiltrating capacity. The only feasible cure, in these unlucky situations, consists in the removal of the most consistent part of the tumor, combined with radiotherapy and chemotherapy. If there is a recurrence, it is possible to intervene again and perform another resection of the tumor.

The prognosis, for an individual with glioma, depends on the type of glioma itself and normally young patients have a longer post-operative life expectancy than elderly patients. The life expectancies of those who have been operated on grade I and II gliomas are high and usually no relapse occurs. For grade III gliomas the average survival is about 2-3 years while for grade IV gliomas the survival rate after one year is 30% and after two years it is only 14%.