Gliomatosis Cerebri

What is gliomatosis cerebri?

Gliomatosis cerebri is a highly aggressive, rare form of malignant astrocytic tumor. It most commonly presents as a diffusely infiltrating glial tumor of the cerebral cortex. Gliomatosis cerebri is a type of astrocytoma, which is a sub-type of glioma. A glioma is a type of brain tumor that originates from glial cells, which support and nourish neurons in the brain. Gliomatosis cerebri is characterized by scattered and widespread tumor cells that cause multiple parts of the brain to enlarge. Because this type of tumor is so diffused, it can be challenging to treat and the prognosis is generally poor. These tumors usually progress like a grade IV glioblastoma multiforme, aggressively invading normal brain tissue.

Gliomatosis cerebri: ‘As long as you keep going, you still have hope’

With the support of  foundations and families from Europe and North America, GC Global was created to help drive critical research for gliomatosis cerebri.


Members of GC Global pose outside during their conference in Barcelona, Spain.

What are the symptoms of gliomatosis cerebri?

Gliomatosis cerebri symptoms may develop slowly and subtly or they may appear more abruptly. Each child may experience symptoms differently. Common symptoms include:

  • signs of increased pressure within the brain such as headache
  • localized symptoms, including weakness or other motor dysfunction
  • changes in behavior or thought processes

Gliomatosis cerebri symptoms may resemble those of other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

How we care for gliomatosis cerebri

Children and adolescents with gliomatosis cerebri are treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center through the Glioma Program, one of the largest and most experienced pediatric glioma programs in the world, and part of the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Brain Tumor Center.

Our glioma specialists — a team of neuro-oncologists, surgeons, pathologists and radiation oncologists – focus solely on the care of children diagnosed with gliomas. The Glioma Program also offers families the chance to have their child's tumor molecularly profiled (as long as a biopsy can be taken), which may help identify opportunities for targeted treatment.