New Technologies Promising Success in the Treatment of Brain Tumors

New Technologies Promising Success in the Treatment of Brain Tumors

Optune Device Approved for GBM Treatment by FDA

Despite advances in surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy, Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a devastating form of a primary brain tumor in adults with poor survival rates. However, the Optune device, previously known as the NovoTTF-100A System, has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a promising new treatment option for newly diagnosed and recurrent GBM patients.

What is Optune?

Optune is a portable, non-invasive device that provides low-intensity, intermediate-frequency, alternating electric current to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells in the brain without damaging healthy brain tissue. Electrodes are placed on the skull to target the tumor, with placement determined by the patient's magnetic resonance imaging results.

FDA Approval

Initially approved by the FDA in 2011 for treating recurrent GBM patients, Optune has also been approved as an adjunct therapy for newly diagnosed GBM patients. It can be combined with the standard initial treatment, the chemotherapy drug temozolomide (TMZ). In a study of 695 newly diagnosed GBM patients, Optune with TMZ contributed to a survival increase of approximately three months.

Benefits of Optune

While Optune is not a cure for GBM, it has been shown to prolong patients’ lives. In addition, the device is portable and can be powered by a battery or electricity, allowing patients to continue their daily activities during treatment.

Drawbacks of Optune

The most common side effect of using Optune is skin irritation. Neurological side effects such as headaches were more common in patients treated with Optune and TMZ than those using only TMZ. The FDA warns that Optune should be administered more as an adjunct therapy to newly diagnosed patients rather than standard therapy.


Optune is a promising new treatment option for GBM patients, offering extended survival rates for those with few other treatment options. While it is not yet reimbursed in some countries, the ongoing development and approval of Optune in GBM treatment provide hope for patients and their families.