Astrocytomas are the most common primary intra-axial brain tumor. There are approximately 12,000 new cases each year in the United States. There are different classifications of astrocytomas that depend on the dominant cell type that is expressed. Different classifications of astrocytomas have different behavior and prognosis. For example, pilocytic and subependymal giant cell astrocytomas carry a more favorable prognosis compared to fibrillary or gemistocytic astrocytomas.  If left untreated, all astrocytomas tend to invade adjacent brain tissue and may further cause mass effect and surrounding inflammation.

Symptoms of astrocytoma

Symptoms of astrocytoma vary according to the aggressive nature of the tumor. For example, higher grade astrocytomas usually cause acute onset of neurologic symptoms whereas low grade astrocytomas may go unnoticed for several years. Symptoms of astrocytomas may include the following:

  • Headache
  • Seizures
  • Hemiparesis
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Clumsiness
  • Gait disturbance
  • Cognitive changes
  • Lethargy

Diagnosis of Astrocytoma

Diagnosis of astrocytoma is initially performed on MRI or CT scan.  However, definitive diagnosis and evaluation of the tumor cell type must be performed via brain biopsy.  A brain biopsy can be performed either by stereotactic image guided needle biopsy or by open cranial biopsy.

Treatment for Astrocytoma

Treatment for astrocytoma may include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and radiosurgery. Some low-grade astrocytomas may be followed radiographically.  However, if low-grade astrocytomas are surgically accessible, complete surgical resection is usually recommended and may be curative.  Surgery is most often recommended for higher grade astrocytomas.  Unfortunately, complete surgical resection may not offer a cure with higher grade astrocytomas.

At Princeton Neurological Surgery, Dr. Lipani is a board certified fellowship trained neurosurgeon in New Jersey and specialist in the treatment for astrocytoma. Dr. Lipani treats patients from around the world as well as locally from Princeton, New Brunswick, Hopewell, Pennington and communities throughout Somerset, Middlesex, Ocean, Burlington, Monmouth and Mercer Counties for astrocytomas. Dr. Lipani offers image guided brain surgery approaches and the latest in noninvasive radiosurgery procedures for astrocytoma treatment, tailored to the needs of each patient.  Dr. Lipani also treats benign and metastatic tumors that affect the brain such as meningiomas, acoustic neuromas, metastatic lung cancer to the brain, metastatic breast cancer to the brain, metastatic colon cancer to the brain, low-grade gliomas, high-grade gliomas (i.e. GBM) and others.  For state-of-the-art astrocytoma treatment, or to learn about CyberKnife radiosurgery, call or email us to schedule a consultation at our offices in Hamilton or Bridgewater, New Jersey!

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