Glioblastoma is a very aggressive brain tumor. Most cases occur later in life (45 – 70 years of age), but it can afflict any person at any age. Approximately 3 in every 100,000 people per year will develop this cancer.Symptoms that often lead to a diagnosis include headaches, seizures, confusion, memory loss, muscle weakness, visual changes, language deficit, and cognitive changes.
Treatment of glioblastoma typically include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and alternating electric fields therapy. Unfortunately, even with aggressive treatment, the average survival time is just over 1 year.
While the survival rate is sobering, there are numerous treatments in development for this rare cancer, including targeted therapies focused on pathways involved in regulation of growth (receptor tyrosine kinase [RTK], mitogen-activated protein kinase [MAPK] and phosphoinositide 3-kinase [PI3K] signaling pathways), cell cycle, DNA repair, and apoptosis (Retinoblastoma/E2F and p53 tumor suppressor pathways). To illustrate the large amount of research being conducted in this field, there are currently 67 orphan drugs designated to possibly treat glioblastoma registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In addition to medical treatment, there are patient support groups available to assist families dealing with this rare and aggressive cancer.
National Brain Tumor Society
This is large advocacy group focused on helping glioblastoma families with education and support. The group is also heavily involved in advancing research and policies to improve glioblastoma care. For more information,visit braintumor.org/
American Brain Tumor Association
This group assists glioblastoma families with education and support. The group is also involved in advancing research improve glioblastoma care. For more information, visit www.abta.org/