Anaplastic Astrocytoma

Anaplastic Astrocytoma

The cells that support nerve cellls are star-shaped glial cells also called astrocytes. An anaplastic astrocytoma is a grade III tumor. Brain tumors are particularly difficult to treat. One surgeon explain that brain surgery is so difficult because of the very small margin for error. Thus non-surgical treatment is often much safer and more beneficial to the patient.

anaplastic astrocytoma

Isolated Astrocyte

It has some characteristics that can make it more difficult to treat than some other types of tumors. First, it is faster growing and more aggressive than grade II astrocytomas. Although it is more common in men than in women it only makes up about 2% of all brain tumors. It does however invade neighboring tissue.

Treatment of anaplastic astrycytoma using DCA may be very beneficial. Cancer cells use glycosis for energy, that is they use sugar instead of oxygen. These cancer cells surround healthy cells and force them to use sugar for energy also. The cells mutate and spread instead of dying off. DCA tells the cells that are using sugar for energy to die, thereby shrinking and eliminating the tumor. This can happen very quickly with dichloroacetate. One study showed tumors shrinking by 70% in just 3 weeks.

Anaplastic Astrocytoma Treatment

As with many forms of cancer, successful treatment varies widely. Location of tumor is very important as a tumor may not be in an area that can be operated on surgically. In such case chemo and radiation therapy are often with varying degrees of success. Another new treatment first explored at the University of Alberta is using a simple compound called sodium dichloroacetate or ‘DCA’. The videos page has the press release conference where DCA treatment is discussed. One of the almost immediate effects of cancer treatment with DCA is pain reduction. At levels as low as 20 mg per kg of body weight anaplastic astrocytoma and be safely treated.