Skip Navigation

COVID-19 Update

Due to interest in the COVID-19 vaccines, we are experiencing an extremely high call volume. Please understand that our phone lines must be clear for urgent medical care needs. We are unable to accept phone calls to schedule COVID-19 vaccinations at this time. When this changes, we will update this website. Our vaccine supply remains limited. Read all COVID-19 Vaccine Information.

Patient Care Options | Visitor Guidelines | Coronavirus Information | Self-Checker | Get Email Alerts

 

Brain Tumor Grades: Biopsy and Prognosis

A pathologist will examine a patient’s biopsy sample to determine the exact type of tumor, whether the tumor is benign or malignant and how serious it is (its grade).

Brain tumor grading system:

(World Health Organization grading system)
Grade I tumor
  • Benign = non-cancerous
  • Slow growing
  • Cells look almost normal under a microscope
  • Usually associated with long-term survival
  • Rare in adults
Grade II tumor
  • Relatively slow growing
  • Sometimes spreads to nearby normal tissue and comes back (recurs)
  • Cells look slightly abnormal under a microscope
  • Sometimes comes back  as a higher grade tumor
Grade III tumor
  • Malignant = cancerous
  • Actively reproduces abnormal cells
  • Tumor spreads into nearby normal parts of the brain
  • Cells look abnormal under a microscope
  • Tends to come back, often as a higher grade tumor
Grade IV tumor
  • Most malignant
  • Grows fast
  • Easily spreads into nearby normal parts of the brain
  • Actively reproduces abnormal cells
  • Cells look very abnormal under a microscope
  • Tumor forms new blood vessels to maintain rapid growth
  • Tumors have areas of dead cells in their center (called necrosis)

A changing diagnosis

The grade of a brain tumor might change. Reasons for this include:

  • Brain tumors sometimes change (usually to a higher grade)
  • The biopsy sample might not represent the entire tumor

A change from a low-grade tumor to a high-grade tumor happens more often in adults than in children.

Making the diagnosis without a biopsy

If doctors cannot perform a biopsy, they will determine a treatment plan on test results.

To request a consultation or appointment, call 410-955-6406.

back to top button