What is the role of electric-field therapy for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM)?

Updated: Jul 01, 2019
  • Author: Jeffrey N Bruce, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert H Engelhard, III, MD, PhD, FACS, FAANS  more...
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The Optune device uses low-intensity, intermediate-frequency, alternating electric fields (tumor- treating fields) to target dividing cells in glioblastoma multiforme while generally not harming normal cells. The tumor-treating fields are generated via electrodes placed directly on the scalp. To target the tumor, array placement is based on the individual patient's magnetic resonance imaging results. [111]

Optune, also known as the NovoTTF-100A System, was initially approved in 2011 for use in glioblastoma multiforme that had recurred or progressed after treatment. In October 2015, the FDA expanded approval to include use of the device in conjunction with temozolomide chemotherapy in the first-line setting. Approval was based on an open-label, randomized phase 3 trial in 700 patients, in which median overall survival was 19.4 months with use of the device plus temozolomide, versus 16.6 months with chemotherapy only. [111]

In a randomized, open-label trial in 695 patients with glioblastoma, the addition of  tumor-treating fields to treatment with temozolomide improved median progression-free survival from 4.0 months to 6.7 months (hazard ratio [HR], 0.63; 95% confidence index [CI], 0.52-0.76; P < 0.001). Median overall survival improved from 16.0 months to 20.9 months (HR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.53-0.76; P <  0.001). [112, 113]

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