Treatments for GBM

Finding out that you or a loved one has glioblastoma, or GBM, can be overwhelming. All of a sudden, you’re facing unfamiliar challenges and need to make important treatment decisions. Learning more about your options can be a good place to start and can help you have more informed conversations with your doctor.

Newly diagnosed GBM
Recurrent GBM

Treatment for newly diagnosed GBM

Your healthcare team will work with you to develop a treatment plan.
They may recommend some or all of the following options:

  • Surgery may be recommended by your doctors as a way to remove as much of the tumor as possible
    • During surgery, a tumor sample, known as a biopsy, can be taken. This can be tested for “tumor markers,” which can help your doctor determine exactly what type of tumor it is and what treatments may work better for you
    • Sometimes surgery is performed while you’re awake but partially sedated. This allows your surgeon to ask you questions during the operation, which can help them protect important parts of your brain
  • Radiation therapy may be used after surgery
    • During radiation therapy, a machine is used to aim high-energy beams at your head in order to kill the tumor cells inside
    • This outpatient treatment is usually done over the course of several weeks at a hospital or clinic
  • Chemotherapy refers to medications that are used to kill cancer cells. It can be given to you in several ways:
    • As a pill that you swallow
    • In an IV, which is a tube that delivers medicine directly into your vein
    • As a dissolving wafer that a surgeon implants in your brain during surgery
  • Optune® is used together with a chemotherapy* called temozolomide (TMZ)
    • Optune is a wearable, portable FDA-approved device
    • When Optune is turned on, it creates low-intensity electric fields called Tumor Treating Fields, or TTFields. TTFields may destroy some GBM cancer cells and may slow or stop them from multiplying

How will Optune fit into my treatment plan for newly diagnosed GBM?

*Temozolomide also known as Temodar®.

Treatment for recurrent GBM

If you or your loved one has recurrent GBM, the following are some ways that your doctor can treat it this time around:

  • Surgery may be performed if the tumor is located in a spot that doctors can reach
  • Radiation therapy—high-energy X-rays, gamma rays, or protons that are beamed at the head to kill tumor cells may be recommended again
  • Additional chemotherapy may be given to kill more of the tumor cells
  • Antiangiogenic therapy—a type of medicine that helps to stop the growth of blood vessels that feed tumor growth may be prescribed
  • Optune®—a wearable, portable FDA-approved device that can help destroy GBM cancer cells or slow or stop them from dividing

How will Optune fit into my treatment plan for recurrent GBM?

Your doctor may have just told you about Optune and may have given you the choice between Optune and another round of chemotherapy.

You can learn more about the benefits and side effects of Optune here.

References:
  1. Cancer.net. Brain Tumor Guide. https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/brain-tumor/introduction. Approved January 2020. Accessed June 24, 2020.
  2. National Cancer Institute. What you need to know about brain tumors. http://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/brain.pdf. Published February 2009. Accessed May 30, 2018. NIH Publication No. 09-1558.
  3. Gerritsen JKW, Klimek M, Dirven CMF, et al. The SAFE-trial: Safe surgery for glioblastoma multiforme: Awake craniotomy versus surgery under general anesthesia. Study protocol for a multicenter prospective randomized controlled trial. Contemp Clin Trials. 2020;88:105876.

What is Optune® approved to treat?

Optune is a wearable, portable, FDA-approved device indicated to treat a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in adult patients 22 years of age or older.

Newly diagnosed GBM

If you have newly diagnosed GBM, Optune is used together with a chemotherapy called temozolomide (TMZ) if:

Recurrent GBM

If your tumor has come back, Optune can be used alone as an alternative to standard medical therapy if:

What is Optune Lua approved to treat?

Optune Lua is a wearable, portable, FDA-approved device indicated for the treatment of adult patients, with unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic, malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) to be used together with standard chemotherapy (pemetrexed and platinum-based chemotherapy).

Who should not use Optune for GBM or Optune Lua for MPM?

Optune for GBM and Optune Lua for MPM are not for everyone. Talk to your doctor if you have:

Do not use Optune for GBM or Optune Lua for MPM if you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant. It is not known if Optune/Optune Lua is safe or effective during pregnancy.

What should I know before using Optune for GBM or Optune Lua for MPM?

Optune and Optune Lua should only be used after receiving training from qualified personnel, such as your doctor, a nurse, or other medical staff who have completed a training course given by Novocure®, the maker of Optune and Optune Lua.

What are the possible side effects of Optune for GBM and Optune Lua for MPM?

The most common side effects of Optune when used together with chemotherapy for GBM (temozolomide or TMZ) were low blood platelet count, nausea, constipation, vomiting, tiredness, seizure, and depression.

The most common side effects when using Optune alone for GBM were scalp irritation (redness and itchiness) and headache. Other side effects were malaise, muscle twitching, fall and skin ulcers.

The most common side effects of Optune Lua when used together with chemotherapy for MPM (pemetrexed and platinum-based chemotherapy) were low red blood cell count, constipation, nausea, tiredness, chest pain, fatigue, skin irritation from device use, itchy skin, and cough.

Other potential adverse effects associated with the use of Optune Lua include: treatment related skin irritation, allergic reaction to the plaster or to the gel, electrode overheating leading to pain and/or local skin burns, infections at sites of electrode contact with the skin, local warmth and tingling sensation beneath the electrodes, muscle twitching, medical device site reaction and skin breakdown/skin ulcer.

Talk to your doctor if you have any of these side effects or questions.

Caution: Federal law restricts Optune Lua to sale by or on the order of a physician. Humanitarian Device. Authorized by Federal Law for use in the treatment of adult patients with unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic, malignant pleural mesothelioma concurrently with pemetrexed and platinum-based chemotherapy. The effectiveness of this device for this use has not been demonstrated.

Please click here to see the Optune Instructions for Use (IFU) for complete information regarding the device's indications, contraindications, warnings, and precautions.

Please click here to see the Optune Lua IFU for complete information regarding the device's indications, contraindications, warnings, and precautions.

On this site, patient and healthcare professional videos as well as all images labeled as Optune users, caregivers, or healthcare professionals depict actual patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. All other depictions of patients and caregivers are actor portrayals. Patient images reflect the health status of the patients at the time each photo was taken.

What is Optune approved to treat?

Optune is indicated to treat a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in adult patients 22 years of age or older.