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Anaplastic Astrocytoma

Abstract

You are reading a NORD Rare Disease Report Abstract. NORD’s full collection of reports on over 1200 rare diseases is available to subscribers (click here for details). We are now also offering two full rare disease reports per day to visitors on our Web site.

NORD is very grateful to Jeffrey N. Bruce, MD, Professor of Neurological Surgery, Vice Chairman, Neurosurgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, for assistance in the preparation of this report.

Synonyms of Anaplastic Astrocytoma

  • astrocytoma, grade III
  • malignant astrocytoma, grade III

Disorder Subdivisions

  • No subdivisions found.

General Discussion

Anaplastic astrocytoma is a rare malignant brain tumor. Astrocytomas are tumors that develop from certain star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes. Astrocytes and similar cells form tissue that surrounds and protects other nerve cells found within the brain and spinal cord. Collectively, these cells are known as glial cells and the tissue they form is known as glial tissue. Tumors that arise from glial tissue, including astrocytomas, are collectively referred to as gliomas. The symptoms of anaplastic astrocytomas vary depending upon the specific location and size of the tumor. The specific cause of this tumor is unknown.

Astrocytomas are classified according to a grading system developed by the World Health Organization (WHO). Astrocytomas come in four grades based upon how fast the cells are reproducing and that likelihood that they will spread (infiltrate) nearby tissue. Grades I or II astrocytomas are nonmalignant and may be referred to as low-grade. Grades III and IV astrocytomas are malignant and may be referred to as high-grade astrocytomas. Anaplastic astrocytomas are grade III astrocytomas. Grade IV astrocytomas are known as glioblastoma multiforme. Lower grade astrocytomas can change into higher grade astrocytomas over time.

Anaplastic Astrocytoma Resources

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