Radiation Therapy for Low-Grade Glioma

Radiation therapy can shrink or kill tumor cells. At Memorial Sloan Kettering, we use this approach to treat low-grade glioma tumors with the help of state-of-the-art tools, such as linear accelerators and advanced imaging techniques. These tools enable us to precisely deliver high doses of radiation to your tumor as safely as possible.

We may recommend radiation therapy as your first treatment for low-grade glioma, combined with surgery and/or chemotherapy. Or we may recommend it for tumors that come back (recurred) after having been treated already.

We use two types of radiation therapy for low-grade glioma. We base the decision on which to recommend for you on such considerations as the type, size, and location of the tumor.

  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) uses sophisticated software and 3-D images from CT scans to focus high doses of radiation directly onto your tumor. These pencil-thin beams vary in intensity and conform to the specific shape and size of the tumor. This highly focused approach reduces the exposure of healthy tissue in your brain. IMRT can decrease your chance of radiation side effects.
  • Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT). The approach uses real-time imaging with CT scans or x-rays during radiation therapy to help ensure ideal positioning and lack of motion during treatment. IGRT enables your treatment team to deliver radiation with great accuracy. 

It’s not common, but it’s possible that your treatment team will recommend stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) to treat a low-grade glioma with one high dose of radiation.

Radiation Safety

Keeping you as safe as possible during radiation therapy is as important to us as the treatment itself. Our medical physicists work closely with your radiation oncologist to carefully plan the radiation dosage before your treatment. Medical physicists will be there during your treatment to ensure that the radiation is delivered correctly and in the best possible places.