Similar to glioblastomas, low-grade gliomas are cancerous brain tumors that arise from the support cells (glial cells) within the brain. These tumors, however, are slow-growing, and only make up 20 percent of all primary brain tumors.
Mount Sinai’s Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program has a wealth of resources for patients with low-grade gliomas – from innovative technology to help resect tumors precisely to a team of neuro-oncologists, neurologists, and skilled neurosurgeons available to provide comprehensive care.
“The goal of care is to provide patients with treatment options that work best for them with a strong emphasis on improving quality of life,” said Raymond Yong, MD, neurosurgeon and Director of Outreach for the Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program.
Low-Grade Glioma Symptoms
Although low-grade gliomas are not as aggressive as glioblastomas, they still cause similar symptoms, such as:
- Blurry vision
- Memory loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sensory loss
- Weakness that affects one side of the body
These symptoms are thought to be more subtle than those experienced with other types of brain tumors because of the slow-growing nature of low-grade gliomas.
The tumors also have a tendency of causing more seizures than others because they are located closer to the surface of the brain, which is responsible for seizure activity.
Treatment for Low-Grade Gliomas
Management strategies for low-grade gliomas consist of monitoring, surgery, radiosurgery, chemotherapy, or a combination of more than one therapy. Because most of these tumors are found incidentally, they can be monitored by MRI scanning and controlled with anticonvulsant medications.
If surgery is recommended, our neurosurgeons will use a special technique called intraoperative brain mapping, which helps to identify vital areas of the brain and avoid them during surgery for tumor removal.
A low-grade glioma that is slow to grow usually does not need radiation or chemotherapy immediately. Certain tumor markers (such as IDH1), which can be identified through examination of tissue following biopsy, can predict if a low-grade glioma is more likely to be well-behaved over time.
“Radiation and chemotherapy are options, but we prefer to hold off until we need to pursue those therapies. Our goal is to preserve the quality of life for patients as long as we are able,” said Dr. Yong.
Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program
5 East 98th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10029
To speak with someone about open brain tumor clinical trials, please contact John Percival Pena, NP, at 212-241-6252.