You might be wondering how a device that creates wave-like electric fields can help treat glioblastoma. Here's a look at the science behind Optune.
When cells become cancerous, they undergo changes that cause them to divide quickly and uncontrollably. This creates more and more cancerous cells that form masses, called tumors.
When Optune is turned on, it creates low-intensity electric fields, called Tumor Treating Fields, or TTFields. TTFields help slow or stop glioblastoma cancer cells from dividing and may also cause some of them to die.
TTFields work when cancer cells are dividing and do not disrupt healthy resting cells. Because TTFields do not enter the bloodstream, like a drug, they have not been shown to affect cells in other parts of the body. The most common (≥10%) adverse events seen when using Optune alone were scalp irritation from device use and headache.
Optune delivers TTFields to
the location of a GBM tumor.
Drugs, like chemotherapy,
travel through the bloodstream,
affecting cells all over the body.
Optune uses 4 adhesive patches, called transducer arrays, to deliver therapy. These transducer arrays are applied to your scalp and are connected to the device and battery. The transducer array placement is determined based on each patient's MRI results to help maximize the effect that TTFields have on the tumor.
1. National Institutes of Health. National Cancer Institute. What is cancer? http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/what-is-cancer. Updated February 9, 2015. Accessed November 19, 2015.
2. Optune Instructions For Use. Novocure 2016.
3. Kirson ED, Dbalý V, Tovarys F, et al. Alternating electric fields arrest cell proliferation in animal tumor models and human brain tumors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007;104(24):10152-10157.
4. MedlinePlus. Chemotherapy. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002324.htm. Updated May 29, 2014. Accessed November 19, 2015.
5. Optune Patient Information and Operation Manual. Novocure 2016.
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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).