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.
Infographic: Advancements in Brain Tumor Treatment
Brain tumor treatment continues to evolve with new techniques and technologies. Here’s a look at some newer developments that may improve the outlook for those living with brain tumors.
Malignant Brain Tumor Surgery: What You Need to Know
Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Chetan Bettegowda, M.D., Ph.D. provides what you need to know about surgical options for malignant brain tumors, including what surgical options are available, when they are considered, how to choose a brain tumor center, and the anticipated course of treatment, recovery time and outcomes.
Malignant Brain Tumor Clinical Trials: What You Need to Know
Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Chetan Bettegowda, M.D., Ph.D. discusses when clinical trials are recommended for a patient with a malignant brain tumor diagnosis, understanding the risks involved and making the decision to participate in a clinical trial. He also discusses the latest research for the treatment of brain tumors.
Chemotherapy and Primary Brain Tumors: What You Need to Know
Johns Hopkins oncologist Matthias Holdhoff, M.D., Ph.D. offers a candid conversation on chemotherapy as a treatment option for malignant brain tumors.
Radiation Oncology for Primary Brain Tumors: What You Need to Know
Johns Hopkins radiation oncologist Lawrence R. Kleinberg, M.D. explains when and how radiation therapy is used to treat primary brain tumors. Learn about the anticipated course of treatment, side effects and how they can be managed.
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 and chemotherapy usually follow surgery once the diagnosis or name of the tumor is determined. These treatments are called adjuvant treatments.
Radiation Therapy 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:
- Internal radiation with the GliaSite Radiation Therapy System
- External beam radiation therapy
- Stereotactic radiosurgery
Chemotherapy for 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:
- Systemic, or standard, chemotherapy
- GLIADEL® wafers
- Targeted therapy
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.