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.
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.
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.
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:
Nausea and vomiting
Depending on the location of the tumor, GBM can also interfere with how the brain controls other parts of the body, leading to:
Weakness on one side of the body
Difficulty with memory or speech
Changes in vision
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. http://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/brain.pdf. Published February 2009. Accessed August 25, 2015. NIH Publication No. 09-1558.
2. National Brain Tumor Society. Grade IV - Glioblastoma (GBM). http://braintumor.org/brain-tumor-information/understanding-brain-tumors/tumor-types/#glioblastoma-multiforme. 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. http://www.abta.org/understanding-brain-tumors/types-of-tumors/glioblastoma.html. Accessed August 25, 2015.
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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.
If you have newly diagnosed GBM, Optune is used together with a chemotherapy called temozolomide (TMZ) if:
If your tumor has come back, Optune can be used alone as an alternative to standard medical therapy if:
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.
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.
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.
Optune is intended as a treatment for adult patients (22 years of age or older) with histologically-confirmed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).