Gliomatosis cerebri


Treatment and therapies

There is no standard treatment for GC. The disease progresses rapidly and most patients succumb to their disease during the first few years after diagnosis. Results in the George et al.6 review shows there was no significant difference in survival between patients receiving exclusively chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of both.  

Surgery is not an option for GC patients as the tumour is diffuse along different lobes of the brain. It is only used for obtain a biopsy of the tissue as explained before (section Diagnosis).

Radiotherapy helps to stabilised the progression of the disease and give families more time, but secondary effects in children can appear as large areas of the brain are being irradiated. This causes inflammation in their immature brains. The younger the patient is the less this therapy is recommended.

Chemotherapy, specially temozolomide and procarbazine, are used to treat these types of gliomas, but unfortunately, they have not shown an increase in survival rates. If a genetic test is available from the biopsy, a good option is to look for a suitable clinical trial.

Corticoids can alleviate the symptoms caused by the spread of the tumour or the side effects of the radiotherapy. However, their prolonged use causes a wide variety of side effects, including a voracious appetite, weight gain, mood swings, stretch marks and facial changes. When these symptoms appear, discuss the treatment options with corticoids with your doctor.

Nowadays, patients might be receiving different treatments at the same time. This can include different drugs, protocols or even more than one clinical trial. Importantly, some immunotherapy options are now becoming available for trials.

Seizure drugs are available for those children having episodes, but not all drugs are the same. Discuss this option with your doctor when seizures become difficult to control.

Finally, some alternative therapies might help patients to cope with treatment symptoms. For example, recent results have demonstrated the efficacy of cannabidiol (CBD) to diminish the secondary effects from radio-chemotherapy in patients with glioblastomas.8,9

Find here a list of doctors that have expertise in GC cases within Europe.

6George, E., Settler, A., Connors, S. & Greenfield, J. P. Pediatric Gliomatosis Cerebri: A Review of 15 Years. J. Child Neurol. 31, 378–387 (2016).
8Dumitru, C. A., Sandalcioglu, I. E. & Karsak, M. Cannabinoids in Glioblastoma Therapy: New Applications for Old Drugs. Front. Mol. Neurosci. 11, 159 (2018).
9López-Valero, I. et al. Targeting Glioma Initiating Cells with A combined therapy of cannabinoids and temozolomide. Biochem. Pharmacol. 157, 266–274 (2018).
Last modified
07 October 2019