Glioblastoma multiforme is an aggressive tumour in the brain that infiltrates surrounding brain tissue and is the most malignant of brain tumours, according to the Merck Manuals Online Medical Library. Treatment usually involves surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
Doctors consider chemotherapy only marginally effective, although new treatments are developed all the time. Radiation after surgery appears to extend survival a few months, says Cancer Monthly.
Better outcomes are possible if surgery successfully removed most or all of the tumour. Age is also a factor, says Merck.com, as patients under 45 are more likely to survive.
Glioblastoma generally has a very poor prognosis, with the average patient surviving just one year after diagnosis, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
While the diagnosis of glioblastoma multiforme is dismal, some patients do survive three or more years, says the ASCO, with research and newer methods of treatment providing hope for longer survival rates.
Due to the poor prognosis, patients should consider newer, investigational therapies when possible, suggests Merck Manuals, such as stereotactic radiosurgery, gene or immune therapy and new chemotherapy drugs.