Close navigation

Unspecified glioma

Glioma tumours arise from a group of brain cells called glial cells. There are 3 types of glial cell, and if a tumour is mainly made of one of the three glial cells, the patient may be diagnosed with an astrocytoma, oligodendroglioma or ependymoma. However, sometimes it is not easy to tell.

What is an unspecified glioma?

The term 'unspecified glioma' is one which actually does not describe a single type of tumour. Also known as 'mixed glioma', this type of diagnosis was given in cases where either the doctors could not get a biopsy (sample of the tumour) to test or the biopsy was inconclusive, showing more than one type of glial cell being involved.

In its new classification for brain tumours in 2015 the World Health Organization (WHO) did not include unspecified glioma in the list of tumour types because the term doesn't really describe a single distinct type of tumour. The closest thing to an unspecified glioma in the new WHO classification is the oligoastrocytoma which describes a tumour that has both characteristics of an oligodendroglioma (from oligodendrocytes) and astrocytoma (from astrocytes).

Above: Illustration of the three types of glial cells surrounding a neuron. Biopsies of unspecified gliomas often show the involvement of more than one type of glial cell.

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

You can also join our active online community - Join our online support groups.

Headline Created with Sketch. Diagnosed? newly

Our free Brain Tumour Information Pack has been designed to help you feel confident when discussing treatment and care options with your medical team.