Glioblastoma multiforme - an overview

Contemp Oncol (Pozn). 2014;18(5):307-12. doi: 10.5114/wo.2014.40559. Epub 2014 Aug 4.


Glioblastoma multiforme is a central nervous system tumor of grade IV histological malignancy according to the WHO classification. Over 90% of diagnosed glioblastomas multiforme cases are primary gliomas, arising from normal glial cells through multistep oncogenesis. The remaining 10% are secondary gliomas originating from tumors of lower grade. These tumors expand distinctly more slowly. Although genetic alterations and deregulations of molecular pathways leading to both primary and secondary glioblastomas formation differ, morphologically they do not reveal any significant differences. Glioblastoma is a neoplasm that occurs spontaneously, although familial gliomas have also been noted. Caucasians, especially those living in industrial areas, have a higher incidence of glioblastoma. Cases of glioblastoma in infants and children are also reported. The participation of sex hormones and viruses in its oncogenesis was also suggested. Progression of glioblastoma multiforme is associated with deregulation of checkpoint G1/S of a cell cycle and occurrence of multiple genetic abnormalities of tumor cells. Metastases of glioblastoma multiforme are rarely described. Treatment of glioblastoma multiforme includes tumor resection, as well as radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Drugs inhibiting integrin signaling pathways and immunotherapy are also employed. Treatment modalities and prognosis depend on the tumor localization, degree of its malignancy, genetic profile, proliferation activity, patient's age and the Karnofsky performance scale score. Although the biology of glioblastoma multiforme has recently been widely investigated, the studies summarizing the knowledge of its development and treatment are still not sufficient in terms of comprehensive brain tumor analysis.

Keywords: brain; etiology; glioblastoma multiforme; risk factors; treatment; tumor.

Publication types

  • Review