NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Brain Cancer – Gliomas, Version 1.2016
The cancer grade is a rating of how much the cancer
cells are like normal cells. It is used to predict the
outlook (prognosis) of the cancer and plan treatment.
A doctor needs to view the cancer cells with a
microscope to assess the cancer grade. Gliomas are
grouped into 4 grades.
means that the cancer cells look almost
normal. These cancers grow slowly. Most
people with grade I gliomas live a long time.
means the cancer cells look somewhat
abnormal. These cancers grow slowly but can
invade normal tissue. Sometimes, they return
after treatment as a higher-grade glioma.
means the cancer cells don’t look
much like normal cells. These cancer cells
quickly increase in number. Grade III gliomas
are called anaplastic cancers.
means the cancer cells don’t look like
normal cells. These cancers grow very quickly.
Gliomas are often described as either low- or high-
grade cancers. Low-grade gliomas include grades I
and II. High-grade gliomas include grades III and IV.
Tumors often contain cells of different grades. The
highest grade will be used to grade the cancer. The
highest grade is used even if most of the tumor is a
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