It can be frustrating to know that, even with treatment, glioblastoma (GBM) can come back. When GBM returns after initial treatment, it's known as "recurrent glioblastoma" or "recurrent GBM."
Surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy may have removed or destroyed most GBM cells. But, because of the location of the tumor and/or the "finger-like tentacles" of GBM tumor cells that may spread across the brain, it may be difficult to reach all GBM cells. Some cancerous cells may remain and continue to grow.
If you or your loved one has had GBM return, 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
Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields)—Low-intensity electric fields that may slow or stop cancer cells from multiplying and may cause them to die. TTFields are delivered through a wearable, portable, FDA-approved device called Optune
If you or your loved one is experiencing recurrent GBM, this may be the first time hearing of 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.
1. American Brain Tumor Association. Glioblastoma. http://www.abta.org/understanding-brain-tumors/types-of-tumors/glioblastoma.html. Accessed August 25, 2015.
2. Weller M, Cloughesy T, Perry JR, Wick W. Standards of care for treatment of recurrent glioblastoma—are we there yet? Neuro Oncol. 2013;15(1):4-27.
3. 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.
4. National Institutes of Health. National Cancer Institute. Angiogenesis inhibitors. http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/immunotherapy/angiogenesis-inhibitors-fact-sheet. Published October 2011. Accessed February 17, 2016.
5. Optune Instructions For Use. Novocure 2016.
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Learn about the benefits and side effects of Optune.See the study results
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).