Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive brain tumor, with only 1 in 4 patients surviving two years after diagnosis. There has been little progress in treating these tumors.
‘Tumor-treating fields (TTFields) were found to be a better treatment strategy than chemotherapy in patients with glioblastoma.’
Tumor-treating fields (TTFields) are a type of electric fields therapy that interferes with cell division by delivering low-intensity electric fields to the tumor through electrodes on the scalp and connected to a portable device.
About 695 patients with glioblastoma whose tumor was surgically removed or biopsied and who had completed chemotherapy. Patients were enrolled in the study from 2009-2014 and followed up through 2016.
Patients were treated with either TTFields plus the chemotherapy drug temozolomide (n = 466) or temozolomide alone (n = 229). Researchers measured survival without progression of the tumor and overall survival.
This was a randomized clinical trial (RCT), which allows for the strongest inferences to be made about the true effect of an intervention. However, not all RCT results can be replicated in real-world settings because patient characteristics or other variables may differ from those that were studied in the RCT.
The authors were Roger Stupp, M.D., Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, and coauthors.
The addition of TTFields to chemotherapy vs chemotherapy alone resulted in improvement in overall survival and progression-free survival.
The study limitations were that the participants and research team knew of the treatments because it was not feasible practically and it was ethically unacceptable to expose patients to a sham device.