A new approach to brain tumour surgery shows improved survival for individuals with high-grade gliomas

Friday 25 May 2018

Recent clinical data reports that a new surgical approach could improve survival for individuals with difficult to access high-grade gliomas

High-grade gliomas are fast growing brain tumours. Glioblastomas are the most common and aggressive type of high-grade glioma found in adults.

The current standard treatment is surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible, followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

However, surgery is challenging for high-grade gliomas that are located in “eloquent” or difficult to access regions of the brain. “Eloquent” regions of the brain are areas that if removed or damaged will result in the loss of important functions such as linguistic abilities and sensory processing, or paralysis.

To minimise damage to vital parts of the brain, neurosurgeons may choose to only conduct a biopsy. This involves removing just a small amount of the tumour with a needle, leaving the majority of the tumour behind. Treatment then relies on chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.

Previous research has demonstrated that extensive removal of the tumour through surgery is associated with improved outcomes.

The new surgical approach outlined in a recent clinical study, involves using a tool that allows neurosurgeons to reach the difficult to access high-grade gliomas, without damaging surrounding areas in the brain.

The results of the study report that extensive removal (on average greater than 95%) of the tumour was safely achieved with this surgical approach.

It is important to note that this is the first study of its kind and consists of only a small number of participants.

Further research is required to confirm the results of this study, as well as evaluate the long-term outcomes of using this particular approach.

However, initial results are promising and this research has the potential to improve the management of difficult to access high-grade gliomas.

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