AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 1, 2017

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Type of Electromagnetic Field Therapy Improved Survival for Glioblastoma

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Over the course of the past decade, many attempts to improve the outcome for patients with glioblastoma have failed when evaluated in large, randomized trials. However, according to a study recently published in JAMA, the use of tumor-treating fields in conjunction with chemotherapy (in individuals who completed standard chemoradiation) resulted in prolonged progression-free and overall survival. Tumor-treating fields (TTFields) are a treatment that selectively disrupts the division of cells by delivering low-intensity, intermediate-frequency alternating electric fields via transducer arrays applied to the shaved scalp. Preclinical data demonstrated a synergistic anti-tumor effect with chemotherapy and TTFields, according to the study. During the study, researchers randomly assigned 695 patients with glioblastoma who, after completion of chemoradiotherapy, received maintenance treatment with either TTFields plus the chemotherapy drug temozolomide or temozolomide alone. Treatment with TTFields was delivered continuously (greater than 18 hours/day) via four transducer arrays placed on the shaved scalp and connected to a portable medical device. Temozolomide was given for five days of each 28-day cycle. After a median follow-up of 38 months, the median progression-free survival was 7.1 months in the TTFields plus temozolomide group, compared with four months in the temozolomide alone group. Median overall survival in the per-protocol population was 20.5 months in the TTFields plus temozolomide group and 15.6 months in the temozolomide alone group. To read more about this study, click here.

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