Patient age, histologic features, and length of survival in patients with glioblastoma multiforme

Peter C. Burger, Sylvan B. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

328 Scopus citations


Histologic sections from 71 patients with glioblastoma multiforme were reviewed to identify histologic prognostic factors and to explain the significantly shorter survival in older patients. Slides were studied for 14 histologic variables from a group of 35 patients aged less 45 years and from 36 patients aged 65 years or more. The relation of these histologic factors to the length of survival and age group was then investigated. The results document the marked histologic and cytologic heterogeneity of the glioblastoma and reaffirm the importance of necrosis as a prognostic factor. The results further suggest that patients whose glioblastomas contained microcysts, pseudopalisading, cells with astrocytic differentiation, and large areas of better differentiated glioma, did better than those patients whose lesions were homogeneously composed of small cells or whose lesion had a small median nuclear size. The study reaffirmed the strong (P < 0.0001) negative relationship between advancing age and duration of postoperative survival. The presence of necrosis, a smaller standard deviation of nuclear size, the extent of vascular proliferation, the absence of well differentiated neoplastic fibrillary astrocytes, and neoplasms composed homogeneously of small cells were related to patient age and offered a possible explanation for at least part of the observed age effect. However, the strong relation between age and survival remained significant when adjusted for other variables, and the effect of age must rest largely on factors other than those detected in this morphologic study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1617-1625
Number of pages9
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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