The best treatment for an individual patient takes into account the tumor location, potential symptoms, and potential benefits versus risks of the different treatment options (modalities).
Treatment for a glioma is customized to the individual patient and may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or observation. Treatment for patients with brain tumors is best done by a multi-disciplinary team. This includes neurosurgeons, medical neuro-oncologists, radiation therapists, and pathologists. At the Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Brain Tumor Center, we hold a weekly multi-disciplinary brain tumor conference with all medical specialties present to review each tumor case and make the best diagnosis and treatment plan for the individual patient.
Surgery for gliomas:
Surgery is the most common initial treatment for gliomas. A biopsy taken during surgery provides tissue samples to the pathologist, who will then be able to make an accurate diagnosis of the tumor's composition, which is critical to getting the best treatment. Surgery can also allow for the removal of tumor tissue to relieve pressure in the brain caused by the tumor. This often needs to be done on an urgent basis.
Types of surgery for gliomas:
Learn more about surgery for other brain tumors.
Radiation therapy for gliomas:
Chemotherapy for gliomas:
Radiation therapy is performed after surgery for high-grade gliomas. It is also used to treat gliomas in locations where surgery is not safe and for recurrent gliomas.
Three types of radiation therapy are used to treat gliomas:
Chemotherapy, including GLIADEL® wafers and targeted therapy, is recommended for some high-grade gliomas after surgery and radiation therapy.
Three types of chemotherapy may be used to treat glioma:
After treatment, brain scans may show brain tissue that looks like glioma. This is often dead tissue or changes in healthy tissue caused by radiation therapy, chemotherapy or both. Neurosurgeons and neuroradiologists will closely monitor this to determine whether the glioma has recurred. If so, neurosurgeons can perform another surgical procedure.