GBM Myths & Facts

What is GBM?

Glioblastoma (GBM), also referred to as a grade IV astrocytoma, is a fast-growing and aggressive brain tumor. It invades the nearby brain tissue, but generally does not spread to distant organs. GBMs can arise in the brain de novo or evolve from lower-grade astrocytoma. In adults, GBM occurs most often in the cerebral hemispheres, especially in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. GBM is a devastating brain cancer that can result in death in six months or less, if untreated; hence, it is imperative to seek expert neuro-oncological and neurosurgical care immediately, as this can impact overall survival. (Source: The American Association of Neurological Surgeons) Glioblastoma is one of the most challenging malignancies to treat in all of oncology. First identified in the 1920's, there have been only four drugs and one device ever approved by the FDA for the treatment of glioblastoma in the past 100 years - with still no cure.

What are the latest stats on GBM

Glioblastoma Facts & Figures (Source: The National Brain Tumor Society) Glioblastoma (or GBM) is one of the most complex, deadly, and treatment-resistant cancers. More than 13,000 Americans are expected to receive a GBM diagnosis in 2020. GBM accounts for 48 percent of all primary malignant brain tumors. It is estimated that more than 10,000 individuals in the United States will succumb to glioblastoma every year. The five-year survival rate for glioblastoma patients is only 6.8 percent, and the average length of survival for glioblastoma patients is estimated to be only 12 to 18 months. Survival rates and mortality statistics for GBM have been virtually unchanged for decades. Despite first being identified in the scientific literature in the 1920’s, there have only been four drugs and one device ever approved by the FDA for the treatment of glioblastoma. None of these treatments have succeeded in significantly extending patient lives beyond a few extra months. Some patients have a glioblastoma upon diagnosis (de novo or primary GBM), while other patients’ tumors start as another, lower-grade type of brain tumor and over time progress into a glioblastoma (secondary GBM). A vast majority of GBM diagnoses are de novo. Mean age at diagnosis is 64. In addition to being life-threatening, GBM – and its harsh treatments – inflict devastation upon the brain, which controls cognition, mood, behavior, and every function of every organ and body part. Many patients will lose their ability to work, drive, and a host of other functions that contribute to one’s sense of self and independence. Glioblastoma is also one of the more expensive cancers to treat, often leaving patients and families with major financial hardship on top of the burdens of the disease. Prominent Americans who’ve been lost to this type of cancer include: Beau Biden (son of former Vice President Joe Biden, and former Attorney General for the state of Delaware); Gary Carter (Hall of Fame Major League Baseball player); U.S. Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy (Democratic politician); U.S. Senator John McCain (Republican politician and former presidential nominee); and Edward “Tug” McGraw (Major League Baseball player and father of country music star and actor, Tim McGraw).

Is there hope?

Yes! Despite these daunting facts and figures, there is hope. Science is advancing rapidly and there are promising research strategies moving forward. (Source: The National Brain Tumor Society)

Why is GBM so challenging to treat?

GBMs present unique treatment challenges due to: Localization of tumors in the brain Inherent resistance to conventional therapy Limited capacity of the brain to repair itself Migration of malignant cells into adjacent brain tissue The variably disrupted tumor blood supply, which inhibits effective drug delivery Tumor capillary leakage, resulting in an accumulation of fluid around the tumor, (peritumoral edema) and intracranial hypertension Tumor-induced seizures The resultant neurotoxicity of treatments directed at gliomas (Source: The American Association of Neurological Surgeons)

Friends’ Health Connection and Cure GBM Now does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products or physicians referenced on this web site. This information provided is an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific health/medical advice or assistance should consult his or her own physician.  

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