Tumor treating fields (TTFs) are safe and efficacious when used with temozolomide for glioblastoma treatment, according to a late-breaking abstract presented at the 2017 American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Annual Meeting.1

Glioblastoma carries a dismal prognosis of slightly over a year, and new therapies are badly needed. TTFs can be self-administered at home by patients; this novel radiation treatment is non-ionizing and delivers electrical fields directly to the brain.

For this randomized phase 3 trial (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00916409), researchers recruited 695 patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma; patients received standard temozolomide or TTFs plus temozolomide. Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were the primary endpoints; the secondary endpoint was quality of life.

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With a hazard ratio of 0.63, PFS and OS were superior in the experimental group. Toxicity was similar between the 2 groups, though patients in the TTF group had worse skin toxicity.

The authors noted that, compared with the control arm, more patients in the experimental arm “reported stable or improved scores on global health status, pain, physical functioning, and leg weakness…while the area under the curve for improvement or stability over time was not significantly different between groups.”

Patients in the experimental arm also had longer deterioration-free survival.

The authors concluded that TTFs are a safe and effective novel treatment for patients with glioblastoma, which can both extend survival and improve quality of life.


  1. Stupp R, Taphoorn M, Driven L, et al. Tumor treating fields (TTFields) — a novel cancer treatment modality: translating preclinical evidence and engineering into a survival benefit with delayed decline in quality of life. Presented at: 2017 ASTRO Meeting; San Diego, CA: September 24-27, 2017. Abstract LBA-6.