Electric Fields Therapy Improves Survival for Patients with Brain Tumor

JAMA

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: 11 A.M. (ET), TUESDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2017

Media advisory: To contact Roger Stupp, M.D., email Kristin Samuelson at kristin.samuelson@northwestern.edu. The full study is available on the For The Media website.

Want to embed a link to this report in your story? Link will be live at the embargo time http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/10.1001/jama.2017.18718

 

Bottom Line: Patients with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain tumor who received a type of electric fields therapy that interferes with cell division had better overall survival and survival without progression of the tumor compared to standard chemotherapy.

Why The Research Is Interesting: Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive brain tumor, with only 1 in 4 patients surviving two years after diagnosis. There has been little progress in treating these tumors. Tumor-treating fields (TTFields) are a type of electric fields therapy that interferes with cell division by delivering low-intensity electric fields to the tumor through electrodes on the scalp and connected to a portable device.

Who and When: 695 patients with glioblastoma whose tumor was surgically removed or biopsied and who had completed chemotherapy. Patients were enrolled in the study from 2009-2014 and followed up through 2016.

What: Patients were treated with either TTFields plus the chemotherapy drug temozolomide (n = 466) or temozolomide alone (n = 229). Researchers measured survival without progression of the tumor and overall survival.

How (Study Design): This was a randomized clinical trial (RCT), which allows for the strongest inferences to be made about the true effect of an intervention. However, not all RCT results can be replicated in real-world settings because patient characteristics or other variables may differ from those that were studied in the RCT.

Authors: Roger Stupp, M.D., Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, and coauthors

Results: The addition of TTFields to chemotherapy vs chemotherapy alone resulted in improvement in overall survival and progression-free survival.

Study Limitations: Participants and researchers knew of the treatments because it was not feasible practically and it was ethically unacceptable to expose patients to a sham device.

Featured Image:

What The Image Shows: The improved rate of progression-free survival (panel A) and overall survival (panel B) of TTFields plus chemotherapy vs chemotherapy alone. (Click on the image for a full-size version. Right click to “save image as” to download.)

Related material: The following related elements also are available on the For The Media website:

  • An animated summary video, available for viewing on this page and to embed on your website. Copy and paste the embed code below to embed the summary video on your website. 

For more details and to read the full study, please visit the For The Media website.

(doi:10.1001/jama.2017.18718)

Editor’s Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

#  #  #

For more information, contact JAMA Network Media Relations at 312-464-JAMA (5262) or email mediarelations@jamanetwork.org.