What is glioblastoma?

Glioblastoma is the most common high grade (cancerous) primary brain tumour in adults. Glioblastoma belongs to a group of brain tumours known as gliomas as it grows from a type of brain cell called a glial cell.

Glioblastoma is the more common name for a type of brain tumour called a grade 4 astrocytoma. (You may sometimes hear it called glioblastoma multiforme, or GBM for short, though these terms are less used nowadays.)

There are different types of glioblastoma:

  • Primary - this means the tumour originated in the brain instead of spreading from elsewhere
  • Secondary - this means the tumour developed from a lower grade astrocytoma

Download our factsheet for more information on:

  • The different types of glioblastoma
  • What causes glioblastoma
  • How common are glioblastomas
  • How glioblastoma is diagnosed
  • Treatment options and their effectiveness
  • What is the prognosis for glioblastoma

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