Surgery ‘first line of treat­ment’ against glioma tu­mors, ex­perts say

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Amy Fa­gan

The type of brain tu­mor that Sen. Ed­ward M. Kennedy has — a glioma — orig­i­nates in the brain and ac­counts for 77 per­cent of ma­lig­nant brain tu­mors and 42 per­cent of all brain tu­mors, med­i­cal ex­perts said May 20.

Mr. Kennedy, Mas­sachusetts Demo­crat, has a “ma­lig­nant glioma in the left pari­etal lobe,” ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from his doc­tors at Mas­sachusetts Gen­eral Hospi­tal.

Doc­tors first look at tu­mor lo­ca­tion and size in de­ter­min­ing the role of surgery, said Dr. Mike Edge­worth, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of neu­rol­ogy, di­vi­sion of neuro-on­col­ogy at Van­der­bilt Univer­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter. “Surgery is the first line of treat­ment against gliomas.”

One of the big­gest prob­lems is that gliomas have roots or ten­ta­cles, mak­ing it im­pos­si­ble to re- move them com­pletely by surgery, said Dr. Gail Rosseau, a neu­ro­sur­geon with CINN Med­i­cal Group in Chicago and a spokes­woman for the Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion of Neu­ro­log­i­cal Sur­geons.

“It can’t be re­moved in to­tal, sur­gi­cally, the way some other types of tu­mors can be,” she said.

Treat­ment typ­i­cally in­volves surgery, fol­lowed by a com­bi­na­tion of ra­di­a­tion and chemo­ther­apy, the doc­tors said. The most com­mon chemo agent for a ma­lig­nant glioma is temo­zolo­mide, an oral med­i­ca­tion, Dr. Edge­worth said.

Sev­eral types of gliomas vary in ag­gres­sive­ness; with lim­ited in­for­ma­tion about Mr. Kennedy’s, it would be in­ap­pro­pri­ate to spec­u­late on his prog­no­sis, said Dr. Otis W. Braw­ley, chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer for the Amer­i­can Can­cer So­ci­ety.

He and other can­cer ex­perts said prog­no­sis is de­ter­mined by con­sid­er­ing the types of cells in the brain tu­mor, how fast they are grow­ing and the pa­tient’s age, since sur­vival rates drop with in­creas­ing age. Mr. Kennedy is 76.

Dr. Edge­worth said a ma­lig­nant glioma is usu­ally la­beled as a grade 3 or 4, mean­ing the most se­ri­ous and deadly. Me­dian sur­vival rates for a grade 2 glioma is about seven to nine years, for grade 3 about two to three years, and for grade 4 about 12 to 15 months, he said.

The “grade” of a tu­mor is de­ter­mined by look­ing at the pathol­ogy of its cells un­der a mi­cro­scope, he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.