Brain Tumor

Brain Tumor

Glioblastoma and Other Brain Cancers

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Whether you are recently diagnosed with a primary brain tumor or glioblastoma or are seeking a second opinion, the doctors, support staff, and researchers at the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center join your fight to treat it. When compared to other brain tumor centers in the world, we:

  • Conduct more groundbreaking research
  • Have more active clinical trials
  • See more people with brain tumors and brain cancer
  • Have more experience with more types of brain tumors
  • Provide more innovative treatments

We take an aggressive, team approach to your care. Our goal is to detect and treat brain tumors, and ultimately to provide long-term survival to all of our patients.

Our Doctors
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We conduct a series of comprehensive tests to properly diagnose your brain tumor and develop your customized treatment plan. Most tests can be performed on the same day.

Neurological Exam

This assesses your hearing (auditory brainstem response, or ABR), balance, strength, coordination, reflexes, vision, swallowing, and ability to think and remember.

CT, MRI, PET, Angiography

A variety of tests may be performed to create images that help detect and diagnose your type of brain tumor. 


A small sample of the tumor may be removed to pinpoint your diagnosis.

Our Locations
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.



A craniotomy may be performed to remove a brain tumor through a temporary opening in your skull. During the procedure, a bone flap is removed to provide access to the tumor and then is replaced. This procedure may be performed alone or in combination with radiation therapy. Our surgeons are experienced in removing primary brain tumors and many times are able to operate on people who were told their condition was not operable. 

Radiation Therapy

Image-guided radiation therapy targets the cancerous tumor while preserving your healthy brain tissue. Our radiation oncologists use MRI, CT, and other scans to view the precise location of the tumor and focus X-rays directly on it. Stereotactic radiosurgery uses 3-D imaging to target and deliver a focused, high dose of radiation to a well-defined tumor in a short amount of time.


Oral drugs or injections may be used to kill additional cancer cells after surgery and radiation therapy, especially for aggressive tumors. Chemotherapy may also be combined with targeted therapies, such as Avastin, to battle malignant brain tumors called gliomas.​


Uses your immune system to fight malignant brain tumor cells while sparing healthy brain cells.

Genetically-Engineered Cancer Vaccines

Cancer-fighting viruses, some co-developed at Duke, target and kill cancer cells, leaving normal cells with the ability to grow. You may be eligible for studies that use vaccines to treat brain tumors in our clinical trials.

Make an Appointment

Patients who want to begin the screening process or their referring physicians can contact us by phone or by filling out an online form.

Why Choose Duke

Experience with All Types of Brain Tumors
Our brain tumor specialists treat approximately 3,700 patients each year, of which 800 are new patients. We treat all types of brain tumors and develop a personalized approach to each patient's care.

Consult with Our Brain Tumor Specialists
Unlike other centers that may filter you through a series of administrators before you speak to a doctor, you’ll speak to our doctors first. Our brain cancer specialists consult with you to determine which tests you need and decide the next steps for your care. Our nationally ranked cancer center has been designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute.

Your Care Team
Our board-certified brain tumor specialists --medical, radiation, and surgical oncologists; experts in neurosurgery and neurology; radiologists; and pathologists -- as well as geneticists, specially trained nurse practitioners and physician assistants, nutritionists, and social workers meet regularly to discuss each individual case. They collect opinions and offer coordinated and advanced surgical, medical, and follow-up care.

Your Main Point of Contact
A nurse will be your main point of contact throughout your treatment and recovery, answering any questions about your initial evaluation, surgical procedures, financial concerns, emotional needs, and dietary requirements.

Support for You and Your Family
Our comprehensive cancer support services range from helping patients minimize the side effects of treatment to coping with the emotional and psychological effects of diagnosis and treatment. View all of our cancer support groups on our event calendar.

Research Leaders
The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center's robust research program is dedicated to finding better outcomes for brain tumors. We co-developed a vaccine that extends the lives of people with glioblastoma, a type of brain tumor, and played a pivotal role in the introduction of Avastin in the treatment of brain tumors. We continue to explore ways to selectively target tumors, tame fast-growing and drug-resistant tumors, and design new therapies to destroy cancer. Our researchers are also studying ways to manipulate the genes and proteins that fuel tumor growth.

Latest OR Technology
The use of intra-operative MRI (iMRI) in the operating room allows the neurosurgeon to get an MRI while the patient is still in surgery. This confirms that all or as much of the tumor as possible is removed, to ensure surgical success. It also reduces the time and number of procedures a patient has to endure.

Among the Best Cancer Hospitals in U.S.
Where you receive your cancer care is important. Duke University Hospital's cancer program is ranked among the nation's best by U.S. News & World Report for 2019–2020.
Reviewed: 06/15/2018