Gliomas of the brainstem


Brain tumors are quite rare, despite this being the most dangerous among other cancers, as they are difficult to treat.Glioma of the brain stem -One of the pathological formations that affect the brain.

What is the glioma of the brain stem and how dangerous is it?

Glioma of the brainstem is a tumor formation that is characterized by infiltrative growth, that is, the ability of tumor cells to grow into surrounding healthy tissues and replace them. Because of this, it is difficult for physicians to establish a boundary between pathological and healthy brain cells and, accordingly, completely remove the tumor. The building material for glioma is glial cells, whose function is to protect and support neurons. Tumors differ in the degree of malignancy, the ability to infect, by histological signs, etc.

Why and who most often meets?

Neoplasms that affect glial cells are found in people of different age categories, but most often gliomas are found in children. The peak incidence falls on the age of 2-8 years.

Experts argue that the emergence of glioma - a consequence of uncontrolled growth of immature cells. The main reasons that it can be caused are the genetic predisposition and the effect of radiation.

On what grounds can you independently recognize the fuel?

The symptoms that manifest themselves at the beginning of the disease are similar to the symptoms that arise with neurological disorders, so often at the initial stage, the treatment is wrong. In addition, at an early stage the signs of the tumor usually manifest ineffectively and develop at a slow rate.

The following symptoms should alert the patient, since they may indicate an early stage of gliomas of the brainstem:

  1. Frequent headaches that are not stopped by medications.
  2. Nausea.
  3. Violation of speech function.
  4. Attacks of epilepsy.
  5. Disorders of sight, memory, associative thinking.

As glioma grows (grade 2), the patient may experience changes in behavior:

  • aggression;
  • irritability;
  • psychoemotional instability.

In the absence of treatment, the symptomatology is aggravated and the following signs are attached to the clinical features of the disease:

  • intracranial pressure;
  • auditory, visual, taste hallucinations;
  • vomiting;
  • dizziness, convulsions, impaired coordination of motion.

Sometimes anxiety symptoms on the contrary arise sharply, this is an unfavorable sign, because testifies to the rapid growth of glioma and its high degree of malignancy.

Mature symptoms

Glioma of the trunk of the brain at stages 3, 4 represents a serious danger to human life. Tumor cells quickly grow and reproduce, more pronounced added to the primary symptoms. In adults and children, the clinical picture may differ slightly.


In adults, the primary signs are added:

  • vestibular ataxia;
  • intracranial hypertension;
  • horizontal nystagmus;
  • numbness, paresis or paralysis of the limbs, parts of the body, face;
  • change of thinking, behavioral disorders.

Children may have:

  • strabismus;
  • asymmetry of the face;
  • decreased sensitivity in the hands or feet;
  • hearing loss;
  • decrease of intellectual abilities;
  • weakness of muscles;
  • apathy;
  • weight loss;
  • . enlargement of lymph nodes.

If the disease occurs for a long time, the child may have a tremor of hands.

What is included in the diagnosis?

Diagnosis of glioma should begin with an anamnesis. At this stage, the doctor studies the clinical picture of the disease, clarifies the symptoms, the presence of a genetic predisposition. Then the doctor should conduct a thorough neurological examination, which will help to identify violations of coordination of movement, vision, hearing, reflexes, the ability to remember and think.

The most informative way to diagnose gliomas of the brain stem is MRI. This method allows to reveal pathological formations even the smallest sizes. MRI provides visualization of the brain from various angles. A clear three-dimensional image allows you to accurately determine the location and size of the tumor.

Other diagnostic methods include:

  1. CT - this method is not as sensitive as MRI in the detection of small tumors, early stage lesions, brainstem tumors. But CT allows not only to see the tissues, but also to study their X-ray density.
  2. PET - allows doctors to see deviations in the work and functioning of the brain.
  3. Oncomarkers for brain cancer.
  4. Angiography - used to evaluate cerebral vessels.

For a detailed study of tumor tissue and the degree of its malignancy, a neurosurgical operation is performed - a stereotactic biopsy. This method is used in complex diagnostic cases, when the neoplasm is located in hard-to-reach and functionally significant areas of the brain. The data obtained as a result of this survey, allow to solve the problem of the need for surgical intervention, methods of conservative therapy.

How is it customary to treat brain stem glioma today?

Completely remove glioma is possible only at the first stage of malignancy. Glioma more severe development infiltrates into surrounding tissues, so it is difficult to cut off the growth from healthy cells.

For the treatment of brain stem glioma, the following methods are used today:


Usually because of the complexity of the site on which the neoplasm is located, surgical intervention may not be possible, therefore surgical removal is extremely rare. Gliomas surgery is extremely dangerous for the life and health of the patient, therefore it is conducted by highly qualified specialists in the best clinics.

Radiation therapy

The trunk of the brain is a thin area and it controls various vital functions of the body, so often the main method of treatment is radiation therapy. X-ray radiation affects the tumor from different positions, which allows to minimize the effect on healthy cells. This method significantly slows the growth of the tumor, and also helps to reduce the symptoms of the disease.


This method has a harmful effect on cells with rapid growth and increased metabolism.

Symptomatic treatment

Used to reduce painful symptoms.

An integrated approach is more effective in treating the disease, but for small patients, doctors do not try use combined methods, as there is a high probability of serious side effects (lag in development and growth). When appointing a treatment regimen, the doctor should discuss with the parents all the nuances, possible risks and choose therapy, taking into account the patient's health.

What happens if I do not see a doctor on time?

The lack of timely diagnosis and medical care often leads to the progression of the disease. It is very important to detect the tumor in time in children, because glioma is capable of triggering irreversible processes in the child's body, such as delayed development, neurotic disorders, impaired vision and others.

One of the serious consequences of untimely treatment is the development of hydrocephalus - excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain.



Untimely established diagnosis, lack of medical care significantly worsen the prognosis of the disease. Treatment in the advanced stages is ineffective, so you can not ignore the suspicious symptoms, you need to go to the doctor in time!


Is it possible to cure brain stem glioma without surgery?

A positive property of gliomas is sensitivity to irradiation and antitumor agents. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are methods by which education can be eliminated or slowed down without surgical intervention. And in combination with immunotherapy and antitumor drugs, treatment gives a more effective result.

Prognosis and survival

The life expectancy of patients with this diagnosis mainly depends on the degree of neoplasm. At the initial stage, when the tumor increases slowly, the prognosis is favorable. With timely treatment, the survival rate is quite high.

With the growth of glioma and its degeneration into malignant formation, a 5-year survival forecast is 30%.

But with a high degree of malignancy, even with effective treatment, a recurrence of pathology develops in 85% of cases, and the life expectancy is reduced to 1-2 years.

Tobrainstem gliomawas detected in time and the patient was able at the initial stage to prevent growth or completely eliminate the tumor, experts recommend regular basic examinations and periodic medical examinations. survey. And when there are alarming symptoms, consult a doctor immediately. In this case, the patient will be able to receive timely treatment and prevent the progression of the disease.


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