What is the Main Cause of Glioblastoma?

Dr. Philip Henkin

April 13, 2023

Glioblastoma is cancer that develops in the brain or spinal cord. It’s very fast-growing and often fatal. The leading cause of glioblastoma is a change in the DNA of cells called astrocytes. These cells help support and nourish the nerve cells in the brain.


Glioblastoma is caused by the abnormal growth of star-shaped cells in the brain called astrocytes. The cause of glioblastoma cells usually form a barrier to keep substances from getting into the brain and help support nerve cells.

When astrocytes start uncontrollably multiplying, they become a tumor called glioblastoma multiforme. This type of cancer is the most aggressive and can spread to nearby brain tissue.

Treatment is usually aggressive and involves surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Glioblastoma is most common in adults over 45 but can occur at any age.

A doctor will perform a thorough neurological examination, which includes checking your vision, hearing, balance, coordination, and strength. They may also do a brain scan or other imaging tests.


Symptoms of glioblastoma vary depending on the location and size of the tumor. Common symptoms include headaches, seizures, nausea, vomiting, balance or coordination problems, memory loss, and personality changes.

Glioblastomas develop when normal brain cells (glial cells) change their DNA structure and grow out of control. They then push against and invade surrounding healthy brain tissue and can spread to other body parts.

The leading cause of glioblastoma isn’t known, but specific genetic syndromes and radiation exposure can cause it. Age, gender, and race may also increase the risk of developing glioblastoma.

Depending on the type of glioma and its location, treatment usually includes surgery to remove the tumor. It can be followed by chemotherapy, radiation, or targeted drug therapies.


Glioblastomas are the most aggressive type of brain cancer. They originate in glial cells, specialized tissues surrounding and supporting the brain’s neurons (nerve cells).

Doctors at Perlmutter Cancer Center use sophisticated DNA tests to accurately diagnose a glioma, allowing them to create a personalized treatment plan for patients. They also perform neurologic function tests to evaluate a patient’s senses, reflexes, coordination, and alertness.

Headaches, seizures, and other neurological complications are often the first signs of glioblastoma. These symptoms can vary depending on the location of the tumor.

Other symptoms can include numbness, tingling, difficulty speaking or slurred speech, and problems with hearing. In addition, people with glioblastoma may experience changes in their personalities or behavior. They can also have sudden changes in their vision or loss of peripheral vision.


Glioma is cancer that starts in the brain or spinal cord. It forms from glial cells, supportive cells that help the brain and nervous system function.

The treatment for glioblastoma is usually a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Chemotherapy works to kill glioma tumors, while radiation therapy uses energy beams to treat the area where the cancer is located.

A doctor may also remove a small tissue sample for testing (biopsy). The biopsy can tell the doctor the type of glioma tumors in the brain, which can guide the best treatment options.

The prognosis for glioblastoma is poor, but it can be controlled with the proper treatment. The outlook depends on several factors, including the size and location of the tumor, the extent to which it has grown into the surrounding normal brain tissues, and the patient’s age and overall health.