Glioblastomas are the most common high grade (cancerous) primary brain tumour in adults. They can also occur, rarely, in children. Glioblastomas belong to a group of brain tumours known as gliomas, as they grow from a type of brain cell called a glial cell.
Glioblastoma is the more common name for a type of brain tumour called a grade 4 astrocytoma.
Glioblastoma are 'diffuse', meaning they have threadlike tendrils that extend into other parts of the brain. They are fast growing and likely to spread. You may also hear them called glioblastoma multiforme, GBM or GBM4.
There are different types of glioblastoma:
- Primary - this means the tumour first appeared as a grade 4 glioblastoma (GBM)
- Secondary - this means the tumour developed from a lower grade astrocytoma
What causes glioblastoma?
There is nothing you could have done, or avoided doing, that would have caused you to develop a brain tumour.
As with most brain tumours, why glioblastomas begin to grow is not known. The Brain Tumour Charity is funding research into possible causes, focussed around our genes.
You can read more about how brain tumours are formed.
Want to know more?
Glioblastoma factsheet - PDF
Our fact sheet gives you an overview of glioblastomas in adults and answers some of the questions you may have about this type of tumour.
Glioblastoma Factsheet - Clear print PDF
Our clear print fact sheet gives you an overview of glioblastomas in adults and answers some of the questions you may have about this type of tumour.
If you have further questions, need to clarify any of the information on this page, or want to find out more about research and clinical trials, please contact our team:
Support and Information Services
0808 800 0004 (free from landlines and mobiles)
Phone lines open Mon-Fri, 09:00-17:00
Research & Clinical Trials Information
You can also join our active online community on Facebook - find out more about our groups.