Treatment for glioblastoma (GBM)
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Treatments for GBM

Finding out that you or a loved one has glioblastoma, or GBM, can be overwhelming. In the blink of an eye, you may feel that your life is turned upside down, and you have to make major treatment decisions. So, where do you start?

Things to consider when selecting treatments

Now is the time to speak with your doctor about the treatments available to you. Things to ask your doctor at this time include:

  • What are the treatment options for GBM?
  • What are the expected results of these treatments?
  • What are the possible side effects?
  • Can this treatment be given close to home, or will I need to travel or relocate for a while?
  • What impact will treatment have on my ability to work or do normal activities?

Treatments for newly diagnosed GBM

By talking to your doctor and doing research on your own, you may learn that a diagnosis and treatment plan for GBM can include:

  • Surgery may be conducted first to remove as much of the tumor as possible and/or to take a sample of the tumor to make a diagnosis of the tumor type. Sometimes, people need to be awake for surgery so that surgeons can ask questions that help them protect important parts of the brain
    • During this time, your doctor may also test the tumor for tumor markers. Tumor markers may indicate which treatments may work better for you
  • Radiation may be used after surgery. A big machine is used to aim beams of high-energy X-rays, gamma rays, or protons 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 drugs that are used to kill cancer cells. You might be given chemotherapy in the form of a pill, an IV in the outpatient part of a hospital, or a dissolving wafer that a surgeon implants in your brain
  • Optune is used together with the chemotherapy temozolomide (TMZ). When Optune is turned on, it creates low-intensity electric fields called Tumor Treating Fields, or TTFields, that may slow or stop GBM cancer cells from multiplying, and may destroy some of them. TTFields are delivered through a wearable, portable, FDA-approved device called Optune

*Temozolomide also known as Temodar®.

Treatments for recurrent GBM

If you or your loved one has recurrent GBM, there are other tools that can be used to treat it this time around. Your doctors may recommend a number of treatments, including:

  • Surgery—If the tumor is located in a spot that doctors can reach, additional surgery may be recommended to remove more of the tumor
  • Radiation—High-energy X-rays, gamma rays, or protons that are beamed at the head to kill tumor cells, may be recommended again
  • Chemotherapy—Additional chemotherapy drugs may be given to kill more of the tumor cells
  • Antiangiogenic therapy—A type of drug that helps to starve tumor cells by stopping the growth of the blood vessels that feed them
  • Optune—When turned on, it creates low-intensity electric fields called Tumor Treating Fields, or TTFields, that may slow or stop GBM cells from dividing and may also destroy some of them. TTFields are delivered through a wearable, portable, FDA-approved device called Optune

This may be the first time you’re hearing about Optune. Your doctor may have even 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. 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.
  2. Cancer.net. Brain tumor: treatment options. https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/brain-tumor/treatment-options. Approved November 2017. Accessed May 30, 2018.
  3. Weller M, Cloughesy T, Perry JR, Wick W. Standards of care for treatment of recurrent glioblastoma—are we there yet? Neuro-Oncology. 2013;15(1):4-27.

Learn how Tumor Treating Fields work

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Proven to
extend survival
through 5 years

Learn about the benefits and side effects of Optune.

See the study results

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:

Who should not use Optune?

Optune is not for everyone. Talk to your doctor if you have:

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

What should I know before using Optune?

Optune 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.

What are the possible side effects of Optune?

Most common side effects of Optune when used together with chemotherapy (temozolomide, or TMZ) were low blood platelet count, nausea, constipation, vomiting, tiredness, scalp irritation from the device, headache, seizure, and depression.

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

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


Please click here to see the Optune Instructions for Use (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.

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.