Life expectancy for a person with stage IV glioblastoma brain cancer is 8 to 15 months from the time of diagnosis, according to a 2007 report from Duke University Medical Center. As of 2015, the 5-year survival rates for patients between ages 55 and 64 is 1 percent, reports The New York Times.
Glioblastomas are among the most aggressive forms of brain cancer, with fairly low long-term survival rates. Immune-based cancer treatments are still being developed, as reported by the Cancer Research Institute in 2014. This, in part, accounts for the low survival rates associated with glioblastomas.
The age of a patient at the time of diagnosis influences their life expectancy, the New York Times explains. While older patients have the lowest survival rates, younger patients between the ages of 20 and 44 have 5-year survival rates of 13 percent, as of 2015.
Gliomblastomas typically arise from the astrocytes, cells that comprise the brain's supportive tissue, states the American Brain Tumor Association. A network of connected blood vessels and the tendency of cancer cells to reproduce rapidly makes glioblastomas especially malignant,. Glioblastomas derive from normal brain cells, so they easily take up residence within normal brain tissue.
Glioblastomas are especially difficult to treat because the tumors contain a variety of different cells, calcium deposits and cystic mineral, claims Duke Medical Center. It is this unique composition of glioblastomas that makes them notoriously difficult to treat. Surgery is necessary to remove the tumor. This may occur in conjunction with chemoradiation.