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Our expert neurosurgery team is committed to providing the finest and most comprehensive patient care. For help finding a neurosurgeon, call 310-825-5111.

About Glioblastoma

Glioblastoma: Symptoms, Treatment and Diagnosis

Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) is the most malignant type of astrocytoma (Grade 4 astrocytoma). The most common tumor of the central nervous system (CNS), Glioblastomas account for 15 percent to 20 percent of CNS tumors but just 0.85 to 2 percent of all primary brain tumors.

Glioblastomas usually occur in patients older than 50 and rare in patients younger than 30. Advances by UCLA neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, and researchers continue to improve the prognosis of glioblastoma.


  • Glioblastoma symptoms may include seizure, focal neurologic deficit (weakness or speech problems), headaches, personality changes and visual loss.


  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the preferred imaging technique for diagnosis.
  • An actual tissue biopsy is typically required for definitive diagnosis.

Glioblastoma Treatment

The UCLA Brain Tumor Program uses a multidisciplinary team approach to offer state-of-the-art treatment regimens of both standard and experimental treatments.

  • Glioblastoma Surgery
    • If possible, UCLA neurosurgeons attempt to remove all cancerous tissue visible on the MRI to relieve pressure on the surrounding brain and improve the effectiveness of certain additional therapies.
    • Some promising clinical trials, such as vaccine therapies being conducted at UCLA, require that the operation be performed at UCLA in order to obtain fresh tumor tissue needed to manufacture the vaccine.
    • Advanced technologies, such as intra-operative MRI and functional brain mapping available at UCLA, may improve surgical outcome.
  • Radiation therapy
    • Six weeks of radiation therapy usually follows surgery.
    • Gamma Knife (stereotactic radiosurgery) has not been shown to be effective for glioblastoma. Stereotactic radiotherapy (using the Novalis system) may be offered in certain circumstances.
  • Chemotherapy
    • Standard oral chemotherapy, such as temozolomide (Temodar), is generally given during the radiation treatment, with additional doses afterward.
    • Wafers loaded with chemotherapy (Gliadel) can be placed at the time of surgery. Ask your neurosurgeon and/or neuro-oncologist about this prior to surgery.
  • Clinical research trials
    • The UCLA Neuro-Oncology Program offers many of the latest multicenter clinical trials available for glioblastoma.
    • Tumor vaccine trials (dendritic cell immunotherapy) are being conducted at UCLA. Participation in these trials may require that the surgery be performed at UCLA, and therefore this should be discussed with your neurosurgeon prior to the operation.

The Neuro-ICU cares for patients with all types of neurosurgical and neurological injuries, including stroke, brain hemorrhage, trauma and tumors. We work in close cooperation with your surgeon or medical doctor with whom you have had initial contact. Together with the surgeon or medical doctor, the Neuro-ICU attending physician and team members direct your family member's care while in the ICU. The Neuro-ICU team consists of the bedside nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians in specialty training (Fellows) and attending physicians. UCLA Neuro ICU Family Guide