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“Glioma” is an umbrella term for any brain tumor that develops from the supportive brain tissue called the “glia.” A glioma can be described as either “low grade” or “high grade.” Under a microscope, a low-grade glioma more closely resembles normal tissue than a high-grade glioma, and it also grows and spreads more slowly.

Types of low-grade glioma

The various types of low-grade glioma are named for the types of glial cells in which the tumor develops. The most common forms of these cancer types include:

The diagnosis of low-grade glioma requires that tumor tissue be obtained to evaluate certain changes in the DNA of the tumors. These changes can determine whether a tumor is an astrocytoma or an oligodendroglioma and also provide important information about prognosis and likelihood of responding to treatment.

Low-grade glioma treatment

Many factors are taken into account when determining treatment for any type of cancer. The treatment recommended for low-grade gliomas varies based on the type of tumor, as well as its size and location. Even though low-grade gliomas are most often slow growing, their prognosis and treatment depends upon their exact subtype, which can be determined only by obtaining at least a piece of tumor tissue via a surgical procedure. Also, the most recent evidence suggests that removal of as much of the tumor tissue as possible can help patients live longer. Sometimes, portions of the tumor cannot be removed safely, as these tumors can involve areas of the brain that have important functions.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, our Neuro-Oncology Program features a highly experienced multispecialty team of neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, neuropathologists and other experts, all specializing in the treatment of low-grade glioma. We have the tools necessarily to evaluate the relationship of these tumors to areas in the brain that have important functions, and this allows us to most effectively strike a balance between maximizing tumor removal and preserving neurological function. Our team collaborates to develop individualized treatment plans for each of our patients. And, as a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Moffitt boasts a robust clinical trial program, through which patients also have access to breakthrough treatment options that are not yet widely available.

check mark symbol Medically reviewed by Michael Vogelbaum, MD, PhD, Program Leader, Chief of Neurosurgery, Neuro-Oncology Program.

To learn more about low-grade glioma, or to consult with a neuro-oncologist specializing in diagnosis and treatment, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete our new patient registration form. A referral is not required to visit Moffitt.