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Tumor-Treating Fields Aid Survival With Glioblastoma

Findings include progression-free, overall survival when combined with chemotherapy

hospital patient in bed

TUESDAY, Dec. 19, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- The use of the tumor-treating fields (TTFields) treatment modality, in addition to maintenance chemotherapy, significantly improves survival in patients with glioblastoma, according to a study published in the Dec. 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Roger Stupp, M.D., from Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues randomized (2:1 ratio) 695 patients (July 2009 to 2014) with glioblastoma whose tumors were resected or biopsied and who had completed concomitant radiochemotherapy to receive either TTFields plus maintenance temozolomide chemotherapy (466 patients) or temozolomide alone (229 patients). Treatment with TTFields consisted of low-intensity, 200 kHz frequency, alternating electric fields delivered (≥18 hours/day) via four transducer arrays.

The researchers found that median progression-free survival from randomization was 6.7 months in the TTFields-temozolomide group and 4.0 months in the temozolomide-alone group (hazard ratio, 0.63), while median overall survival was 20.9 and 16.0 months, respectively (hazard ratio, 0.63). The frequency of systemic adverse events was 48 percent in the TTFields-temozolomide group and 44 percent in the temozolomide-alone group. More than half of the patients in the TTFields-temozolomide group (52 percent) experienced mild-to-moderate skin toxicity underneath the transducer arrays.

"The addition of TTFields to maintenance temozolomide chemotherapy versus maintenance temozolomide alone, resulted in statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival and overall survival," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, including Novocure, which funded and helped conduct the study.

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