A new study demonstrates that by adding electric field therapy to chemotherapy can help improve the survival rate for those with glioblastoma, which is an aggressive form of brain cancer with limited effective treatment options.
Investigative research has discovered that people who live with glioblastoma and were treated with tumor-treating fields (TTFields) — a form of electric field therapy — plus chemotherapy had a longer life expectancy than patients who were treated with chemotherapy alone.
The combination of TTFields and chemotherapy also increased the number of months that the patients lived without their disease harmfully progressing.
Study co-author Dr. Roger Stupp, of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, IL, and colleagues recently reported their results in JAMA.
Glioblastoma is a type of brain cancer that develops from glial cells, which are star-shaped cells that surround and support the nerve cells. Glioblastoma accounts for around 15.4 percent of all primary brain tumors.
Glioblastoma tumors are very aggressive; they grow rapidly, and they can easily ravage the healthy tissue that surrounds them with their “finger-like tentacles,” which makes them hard to fully remove with surgery alone.
Therefore, treatment for glioblastoma usually involves a combination of surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. However, the prognosis for patients with the disease remains poor; only 30 percent of patients treated with radiotherapy and the chemotherapy drug temozolomide survive for 2 years after diagnosis.
This highlights an urgent need for new treatments that can increase survival for patients with glioblastoma.