Key Takeaways

  • Astrocytomas are a type of primary brain tumor. They are the most common type of brain tumor.
  • Astrocytomas are classified into 4 grades: Grade 1 (least aggressive) to Grade 4 (most aggressive).
  • Neurological examination, imaging, and tumor analysis are the mainstays of astrocytoma diagnosis.
  • Surgical resection, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are the primary treatment options.

Astrocytes are star-shaped glial cells that help maintain the appropriate chemical environment for neuron signaling. They give rise to astrocytomas and glioblastomas.

Astrocytomas are gliomas of astrocyte origin that have the IDH mutation. They account for 10–15% of all gliomas and tend to occur in younger adults in their thirties and forties.

Astrocytomas infiltrate the healthy brain tissue and surgery play an important role in diagnosis and can alter the natural history of these tumors. They are assigned grades 1, 2, 3, or 4. In general, the lower grade tumors grow more  slowly but most eventually progress to a higher grade.