Astrocytomas are primary brain tumors that develop from astrocytes, star-shaped
glial cells located in the brain and spinal cord. The most common type of cell in the
brain, astrocytes play an important role in the function of neurons. Astrocytomas, which account for about three-fourths
of all glioma brain tumors, are classified by grades (low grade and high grade)
that reflect their degree of malignancy.
Types of Astrocytoma
Grade I — Pilocytic
astrocytoma: the most benign variant; slow growing; most common in children and
Grade II — Low-grade astrocytoma: relatively
slow growing; most common in young adults
Grade III — Anaplastic astrocytoma: grow rather rapidly
Grade IV — Glioblastoma multiforme: most
malignant, fast growing, very aggressive and lethal. This is the most common brain tumor in adults
and is the most common astrocytoma.