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.
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.