Glioblastoma is a malignant brain tumour (Astrocytoma WHO grade IV) arising from glial cells.

Treatment is difficult consisting of a combination of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery.

Glioblastoma is most common in adults over 35 years of age.

High grade gliomas, glioblastoma in particular, are diffusely invaded and cannot be removed completely even by radical resection. Surgery can be in the form of a biopsy alone, debulking partial removal, or more extensive resection in the form of lobectomy or complete macroscopic excision.

Radiotherapy has an established role in the management of patients with glioblastoma, providing local control of the tumour and easing symptoms.

Chemotherapy in patients with glioblastoma has generally been given after completion of radiotherapy, usually at the point when local control fails although neo-adjuvant (pre-radiotherapy) chemotherapy regimes are being evaluated.

Surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy in the case of glioblastoma should not be considered curative. Their role is that of tumour management and providing a higher quality of life than that which would be possible without treatment.

Oxford Textbook of Oncology, Robert Souhami et al (Eds) Second Edition, Oxford University Press November 2001.