CT scan - brain of a 69-year-old woman with a brain abscess or metastasis, glioblastoma. (Source: Shutterstock)

Brain Cancer (Glioblastoma)


Glioblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor in adults. The glioblastoma has fine tissue similarities to the glial cells of the brain. The glioblastoma originates from the white substance. It is most frequently located in the cerebrum, where it can develop in all brain lobes, but tends to occur in the frontal and temporal lobes.

​In Germany, eight to ten people out of 100,000 suffer from a glioblastoma every year, mainly children up to the age of ten and adults aged 60 to 75. Men are affected much more frequently than women.

​Because of the rapid growth, the symptoms usually develop quickly within a few weeks to months. The first symptoms can be persistent and unfamiliar headaches, but also the appearance of epileptic seizures. Neurological dysfunctions such as paralysis, aphasia (speech disorders) and vision disorders also may occur, depending on the location of the tumor. Often conspicuous personality changes, apathy or psychomotor deceleration are the factors that lead the patient to the doctor.

​Glioblastomas look different in various stages and are therefore not always easy to diagnose. Striped necrosis (dead cells), for example, are an indication that the tumor is a glioblastoma. Glioblastomas can develop completely new or develop from less malignant astrocytoma as a result of progressive degeneration. It is therefore not uncommon that treated astrocytoma relapse manifest as glioblastomas. There is no indication that heredity plays any role.

​In addition to neurological examinations, above all because of the many differential diagnoses, imaging methods are used for diagnostics: electroencephalogram (EEG), acoustically evoked potentials (AEP), visually evoked potentials (VEP), sensory evoked potentials (SEP), computer tomography (CT), blood tests (e.g. B. tumor markers), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), angiography, positron emission tomography (PET) and biopsies.