Treatment for glioblastoma (GBM)
Intended for US audiences only.
Optune® Novocure™

What is glioblastoma?

Glioblastoma, also called glioblastoma multiforme, or GBM, is a type of primary brain cancer. This means that GBM tumors begin in the brain, rather than traveling to the brain from other parts of the body, such as the lungs or breasts. GBM is the most common type of primary brain cancer in adults.

Who gets GBM?

A diagnosis may have been your first time learning about GBM. Because of this, it may seem like GBM is rare when you compare it with lung cancer or breast cancer. But you are not alone.

Around 12,500 new cases of GBM tumors, or other brain tumors that may eventually transform into GBM, may be diagnosed in the United States each year GBM is more likely to appear in older adults. It is also more likely to affect men more than women.

Where in the brain does GBM occur?

Most people get GBM tumors in their cerebral hemispheres—the left and right halves of the brain that control reading, thinking, speech, muscle movement, and emotions. Rarely, GBM can also appear in the brain stem or spinal cord.

Most people get GBM tumors in their cerebral hemispheres.

What kind of symptoms does GBM cause?

GBM does not usually spread to other areas of the body. However, GBM tumors grow quickly in the brain. Because of this, you may have noticed symptoms appearing suddenly, as if out of nowhere.

As a GBM tumor grows, it can put pressure on the brain, causing:

  • Headaches

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Drowsiness

Depending on the location of the tumor, GBM can also interfere with how the brain controls other parts of the body, leading to:

  • Seizures

  • Weakness on one side of the body

  • Difficulty with memory or speech

  • Changes in vision

Why is GBM hard to treat?

You may have heard that GBM can be hard to treat. That has a lot to do with where GBM is located in the brain. Because GBM can be hard to reach, surgery may not be able to remove the entire tumor. GBM also grows fast and can spread quickly. But, there are a variety of approaches available to treat GBM.

If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with GBM for the first time, see Treatments for newly diagnosed GBM

If you or a loved one received treatment for GBM and the tumor returned, see Treatments for recurrent GBM

1. National Cancer Institute. What you need to know about brain tumors. Published February 2009. Accessed August 25, 2015. NIH Publication No. 09-1558.
2. National Brain Tumor Society. Grade IV - Glioblastoma (GBM). Accessed August 25, 2015.
3. Ostrom QT, Gittleman H, Fulop J et al. CBTRUS Statistical Report: Primary Brain and Central Nervous System Tumors Diagnosed in the United States in 2008–2012, Neuro Oncol (2015) 17 (suppl 4): iv1-iv62 doi: 10.1093/neuonc/nov189.
4. American Brain Tumor Association. Glioblastoma. Accessed August 25, 2015.

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Indications For Use

Optune is intended as a treatment for adult patients (22 years of age or older) with histologically-confirmed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

Optune with temozolomide is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with newly diagnosed, supratentorial glioblastoma following maximal debulking surgery and completion of radiation therapy together with concomitant standard of care chemotherapy.

For the treatment of recurrent GBM, Optune is indicated following histologically-or radiologically-confirmed recurrence in the supratentorial region of the brain after receiving chemotherapy. The device is intended to be used as a monotherapy, and is intended as an alternative to standard medical therapy for GBM after surgical and radiation options have been exhausted.

Important Safety Information


Do not use Optune if you have an active implanted medical device, a skull defect (such as, missing bone with no replacement), or bullet fragments. Use of Optune together with implanted electronic devices has not been tested and may theoretically lead to malfunctioning of the implanted device. Use of Optune together with skull defects or bullet fragments has not been tested and may possibly lead to tissue damage or render Optune ineffective.

Do not use Optune if you are known to be sensitive to conductive hydrogels. In this case, skin contact with the gel used with Optune may commonly cause increased redness and itching, and rarely may even lead to severe allergic reactions such as shock and respiratory failure.

Warnings and Precautions

Use Optune only after receiving training from qualified personnel, such as your doctor, a nurse, or other medical personnel who have completed a training course given by Novocure (the device manufacturer).

Do not use Optune if you are pregnant, you think you might be pregnant or are trying to get pregnant. It is not known if Optune is safe or effective in these populations.

The most common (≥10%) adverse events involving Optune in combination with temozolomide were low blood platelet count, nausea, constipation, vomiting, fatigue, scalp irritation from device use, headache, convulsions, and depression.

The most common (≥10%) adverse events seen when using Optune alone were scalp irritation from device use and headache.

The following adverse reactions were considered related to Optune when using the device alone: scalp irritation from device use, headache, malaise, muscle twitching, fall and skin ulcer.

All servicing procedures must be performed by qualified and trained personnel.

Do not use any parts that do not come with the Optune Treatment Kit, or that were not sent to you by the device manufacturer or given to you by your doctor.

Do not wet the device or transducer arrays.

If you have an underlying serious skin condition on the scalp, discuss with your doctor whether this may prevent or temporarily interfere with Optune treatment.

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

Patient Journey videos on this site depict actual patients and caregivers. All other depictions of patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals are actor portrayals.

Indications For Use

Optune is intended as a treatment for adult patients (22 years of age or older) with histologically-confirmed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).