Optune is a wearable therapy consisting of a device that produces alternating electric fields called Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields). TTFields may slow or stop the division of glioblastoma cells. This is a non-invasive local therapy that is directed towards the cancer cells that are dividing in the brain, and it does not usually damage inactive cells, based on our current level of knowledge.
A large-scale clinical study demonstrated that Optune, together with temozolomide - the standard chemotherapy - significantly prolongs the survival of patients with a newly-diagnosed glioblastoma.
Optune is CE-certified for treating both newly-diagnosed and recurrent glioblastomas. As a rule, Optune is used to treat newly-diagnosed glioblastomas, and temozolomide (TMZ) is simultaneously administered as maintenance chemotherapy.
Optune for a newly-diagnosed glioblastoma
To date, the standard treatment for a newly-diagnosed glioblastoma was resection or biopsy that was as extensive as possible, followed by chemoradiotherapy that included the administration of temozolomide (TMZ). Patients were then started on maintenance chemotherapy, which usually consisted of six cycles of temozolomide. This therapy is also referred to as the Stupp Protocol. A clinical trial demonstrated significantly longer median patient survival when temozolomide chemotherapy was combined with Optune. These results show that patients may particularly benefit from Optune if it is used immediately during first-line treatment, i.e., for a newly-diagnosed glioblastoma.
OPTUNE FOR RECURRENT GLIOBLASTOMA
Unfortunately, glioblastomas (GBM) usually recur, despite intensive therapy. This is because it is very difficult to reach all GBM cells with these therapies. Some tumor cells remain present, often in their original state, and continue to grow.
If a GBM tumor regrows after initial therapy, it is called a “recurrent glioblastoma”. No standard treatment has been defined in such cases. Doctors may choose to perform a new course of chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery. That is why it is important to treat a newly-diagnosed glioblastoma in the best possible way and consult with the attending physician to delay the onset of recurrence. Optune can also be used in recurrent cases as a CE-certified therapy. There is evidence that patients who have already been treated with Optune during their first recurrence benefit more than those treated for more advanced disease.
- All patients will then undergo resection that is as extensive as possible, or a biopsy.
- Next, patients undergo radiotherapy and simultaneously receive chemotherapy.
- Optune therapy starts after radiotherapy has been completed, along with temozolomide maintenance therapy.