Treatment of Glioblastoma


Surgery is usually the first step in treating glioblastoma. During surgery, the goal is to remove as much of the tumor as possible, or to take a sample of the tumor. Sometimes a patient may need to be awake during surgery so that the surgeon can help protect crucial parts of the brain. Your surgeon may also use this time to test for tumor markers, which can inform the surgeon about what types of treatments work best in addition to surgery.

Because glioblastomas are complex tumors with root-like formations sprouting from them, it is very difficult to remove the entire tumor. However, there is a better prognosis if the surgeon is able to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Radiation and chemotherapy can help to slow the growth the remaining parts of the tumor that were not removed in surgery.

Intraoperative MRI (iMRI)

Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital (CDH) is the only hospital in Illinois to offer full-field intraoperative MRI (i-MRI), a state-of-the-art surgical technology that provides high-quality, more detailed imaging viewable during surgery. By integrating this technology with advanced surgical techniques, your neurosurgeon can conduct scans during surgery to more safely and precisely remove brain tumors, especially around sensitive areas of the brain. This ensures maximum possible tumor removal, and minimizes the removal of healthy tissue.


Radiation is a treatment that uses a machine to beam high-energy X-rays, protons, and gamma rays into your head. These rays kill tumor cells. It is an outpatient procedure that is typically done in combination with chemotherapy, over the course of several weeks.


Chemotherapy for glioblastoma usually consists of oral drugs that kill cancer cells. You may take them in the form of a pill, or you may take chemotherapy through an IV in an outpatient procedure.