Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), or grade IV astrocytoma, is the most aggressive form of brain cancer. It is also the most common. The term multiforme refers to the various cell types in the tumours. It can be present in any part of the brain or spinal cord, but is most commonly located in the frontal and temporal lobes. There is no current way to prevent GBM. The highly malignant cells reproduce at a rapid rate and are fed by a healthy blood supply. Primary glioblastomas are more aggressive and common. Secondary glioblastomas generally form at a slower rate, but are still aggressive.

Glioblastoma Multiforme affects 2 to 3 people in every 100,000 and is most prevalent in male patients, though the reasons are yet unknown. Less than 3% of GBMs occur in children; it is most common in adults from 45 to 75. In order to receive a definitive diagnosis of GBM, the patient will undergo a craniotomy or stereotactic biopsy.


Due to the various types of cells and the location of the tumour, treating GBM can be difficult. Surgery to relieve the pressure on the brain and remove the tumour is the first process of treatment, which is followed by radiation and therapy. Radiation may be recommended instead of surgery if it is deemed too difficult or dangerous to remove.

Risk Factors

There is no known cause of Glioblastoma Multiforme; however, some people are at a higher risk. Genetic factors, previous exposure to radiation, tobacco smoke, and pesticides may put patients at risk.


Symptoms of GBM differ depending on the location of the tumour, but they typically manifest as headaches, nausea, vomiting, changes in mood, speech, personality, and blurred vision. Because these symptoms are commonly associated with other medical conditions, a proper diagnosis will determine their exact cause. By the time symptoms appear, a tumour will have likely grown too large.