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Astrocytoma

  1. The allopathic definition

Brain tumors that consist of astrocytes, the so-called sheath cells of the CNS (Central Nervous System).

  1. How frequently does this type of cancer occur (incidence rate) in Germany (USA appr. x 3)?

In Germany 1-2 people out of 100,000 get astrocytoma annually.

  1. Subdivisions:

Astrocytomas belong to the subgroup of so-called astrocytic brain tumors, and here the distinction is made between: pilocytic tumors, (level 1), astrocytoma with low-level malignancy (level 2) , anaplastic astrocytoma (malignancy level 3) and then the glioblastoma (malignancy level 4).

  1. How is this type of cancer diagnosed by allopathic practitioners?

In addition to the neurological examinations, imaging processes are used, primarily due to the many differential diagnoses: Electroencephalogram (EEG), evoked potentials (acoustically evoked potentials AEP, visually evoked potentials or VEP, sensory evoked potentials SEP), computertomogram (CT), blood tests (e.g. tumor markers), magnetic resonance tomography (MRT), angiography, positron emission tomography (PET), and naturally biopsies.

Stages:

The WHO grading of CNS tumors establishes a malignancy scale based on histologic features of the tumor. The histologic grades are as follows:

WHO grade I includes lesions with low proliferative potential, a frequently discrete nature, and the possibility of cure following surgical resection alone.

WHO grade II includes lesions that are generally infiltrating and low in mitotic activity but recur. Some tumor types tend to progress to higher grades of malignancy.

WHO grade III includes lesions with histologic evidence of malignancy, generally in the form of mitotic activity, clearly expressed infiltrative capabilities, and anaplasia.

WHO grade IV includes lesions that are mitotically active, necrosis-prone, and generally associated with a rapid preoperative and postoperative evolution of disease

BOOKS
Read more about astrocytoma by reading a book.

Glioblastomas And Anaplastic Astrocytomas: The Neurosurgical Perspective Review

Astrocytes: Structure, Functions and Role in Disease (Neuroscience Research Progress: Neurology – Laboratory and Clinical Research Developments)

Primary Central Nervous System Tumors: Pathogenesis and Therapy (Current Clinical Oncology)

What are the allopathic therapy concepts?

Surgery

Here very clear distinctions must be made relative to the individual levels. For anaplastic astrocytomas the attempt is made to remove the tumor, if its location permits. With pilocytic astrocytomas, an operation is often even curatively (healingly) applied without additional therapy. However if the tumors are near the eyes or on the hypothalamus, then complete removal is usually not possible, i.e. complete removal is too risky for the patient.

Allopathy usually assumes fundamentally that the tumor mass should be reduced, if at all possible from the operation/technical view. I fundamentally disagree with this argument, because my personal experiences with patients who have conquered their tumor without operation, offer compelling reasons to the contrary. In addition the high relapse rate after operations should not be forgotten.

Chemotherapy

Also for anaplastic astrocytomas the value of a chemotherapy is very much disputed among allopathic practitioners, as the tumors of younger people, in particular, are resistant to most of the toxins. There have been and there are attempts with cisplatin, vincristine, doxorubicin, taxol, 5-FU, cyclophosphamide, carmustine, cytarabine und etoposide, but unfortunately the results to this point have not been promising, and basically the question arises here, as to whether chemotherapy is really the right approach for anaplastic astrocytomas.

For pilocytic astrocytomas, chemotherapy does not play as significant a role as it does for anaplastic astrocytomas. Nevertheless here as well polychemotherapies are often recommended if there is tumor infiltration in neighboring regions of the brain.

Irradiation

For an anaplastic astrocytoma usually there is percutaneous (through the skin) radiation after the operation. Today electron accelerating devices (teletherapy) are used almost exclusively. In the meantime cyclical accelerators (betratron) have been displaced by linear accelerators. The fundamental distinction is between total brain radiation and radiation of the tumor alone. You must realize that with total brain irradiation these rays primarily destroy cells that are well supplied with oxygen (healthy cells). However as we know (see cancer theories) this is not the case for cancer cells and consequently the side effects (like strong edema formation) are never foreseeable. Interestingly enough accelerated tumor growth is one of these side effects. I emphasize this point because unfortunately physicians often do not tell their patients this.

In the meantime there are a wide variety of irradiation techniques like stereotactic irradiation, “internal” irradiation with radionuclides like radium 226, iridium 192, cesium 137, cobalt 60, gold 198 or iodine 125. Catheters are operatively implanted in the tumor via bore holes in the skull (overloading process) and in seed implantation radionuclides (seeds) are “worked into the tumor tissue” as small pellets or rods.  For pilocytic astrocytomas, usually 125 iodine seeds are used.

But regardless of the type of irradiation used you must clearly understand that the rays pass through your head and thus always destroy more healthy cells than changed cells. Ask any physician who maintains the contrary, to please explain to you how anything else could be possible.  Since Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Tschernobyl, we also know that this radiation in particular generates cancer many years later, yet nevertheless the standard today is still irradiation with up to 70 Gy.

General

The prognosis for pilocytic astrocytoma is very good and in this case, it certainly cannot be said that an extremely aggressive tumor is involved. Consequently you must treat even the “positive statistics” with extreme caution, as many patients also survive without therapy, or they survive “just” with an operation. I refuse to ascribe these successes, particularly for this type of tumor, to irradiation and chemotherapy, although most of the literature does ascribe these successes to these treatments. The fact is, that to this date no one knows how a chemotherapy actually functions in the brain, because biological rules apply for the brain that are different than those that apply for other organs (e.g. blood-brain barrier).

Caution

Since allopathy offers few promising therapies for advanced brain tumors, this is a major field for “experts”, and naturally for pharmaceutical companies. For example, currently lenti viruses and herpes viruses that have been altered through genetic engineering are being extensively researched, and it is only a matter of time until new trials will also be made here; perhaps with you as a test case. Thus be on guard if you are told: “In animal experiments…! Frequently we hear about wonder drugs alike hypericin, SU101, thermal neutrons etc. but here we must deal firmly on the basis of facts, and patients should also be told that these therapies are nothing more than trials, on or with sick people, which have not produced any significant results to this date.

Hyperthermia

For example in the Charité Clinic in Berlin, tests are made with an interstitial thermal therapy (hyperthermia) using liquid magnets. In this process a magnetizable liquid is injected into the tumor and via an externally-applied magnetic alternating field the magnetic liquid, and thus the tumor, can be heated. To this date there are no significantly positive results with people.

Antibodies

Scientists at the Duke Medical Center in Durham have attempted to achieve successes against the tumor antigen tenascin using a radioactive monoclonal antibody. In this process radioactive iodine 131 (coupled antibodies 81C6) is introduced into a intracerebral cavity, which was previously created in an operation of the tumor.

This technique however has already been used by employees of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center without success, even if they did not use any iodine 131. To this point mention has only be made of “partial successes”. This could be also be termed as stockholder satisfaction.

Gene therapies

After more than 300 glioblastoma patients in 45 clinics in Europe and North America (study 117) were treated with a gene therapy starting in 1996, the study had to be broken off in 1999 because all patients died. Other than earning money the official idea was to sluice “suicide genes” into the tumor using certain viruses. The external hereditary information first results in formation of the protein thymidin kinase. Then the patients received an infusion with ganciclovir, which is transformed in the tumor into a strong cell toxin by the thymidin kinase.

In animal tests it was an outstanding success, however artificially generated tumors in rats are a little different than human glia cells, a group which also includes astrocytomas.

Cortisone and Boswellia acids

The prevention of edemas plays an important role with astrocytomas. Usually this is accomplished through cortisone (e.g. dexamethasone). However Boswellia acid (incense) is used more and more frequently. In studies at the universities of Gießen and Bochum, the best results occurred with a dose of 3 x 1,200 mg / day (DÄ, 94; 18, 2.5.97, A-1197).

Mistletoe therapy

Often mistletoe (s.c. or i.v.) or other immune-stimulating medications are used to reduce the side effects of the cortisone, in particular, but also for recurring prophylaxis. Here however I cannot deny that some holistically thinking therapists refuse the use of mistletoe particularly for astrocytomas, because, according to their experience, it is counterproductive (faster tumor growth).

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