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, including pilocytic astrocytoma and anaplastic astrocytoma, account for about three-fourths of all glioma brain tumors, and are classified by grades (low grade and high grade) that reflect their degree of malignancy.
Grade I — Pilocytic astrocytoma: the most benign variant; slow growing; most common in children and adolescents.
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.
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