Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center provides new treatment for brain tumor patients
November 10, 2015 | Jacksonville, FL
A new treatment option at Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center could help extend the life of newly diagnosed brain tumor patients.
Patients diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive form of brain cancer, now have an additional tool that works along with chemotherapy and radiation.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved an expanded indication for the Optune device to treat patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme. The treatment is given along with the chemotherapy drug temozolomide (TMZ) following standard treatments that include surgery, and radiation therapy and chemotherapy used together.
“The treatment provides a proven option for patients that carries less side effects than traditional radiation and chemotherapy,” said Robert Cavaliere, MD, neuro-oncologist with Baptist MD Anderson, who has used the treatment on patients with recurring brain tumors. “Recent data shows marked improvements in outcomes when patients used Optune in combination with oral chemotherapy versus oral chemotherapy alone. This is only the second treatment next to TMZ oral chemotherapy to ever show improvement in newly diagnosed patients.”
Nearly 23,000 Americans will be diagnosed with brain or other nervous system cancers in 2015, according to the National Cancer Institute, and more than 15,000 die from those cancers. Glioblastoma multiforme accounts for about 15 percent of all brain tumors, and typically occurs in adults ages 45 to 70. Patients survive less than 15 months on average following diagnosis, because the tumor tends to be highly resistant to standard treatments.
But clinical studies show, according to the FDA, that patients treated with the device and TMZ lived on average three months longer than those treated with the drug alone.
Optune was initially approved in 2011 to treat patients with glioblastoma multiforme that recurred or progressed after chemotherapy. With this expanded indication, Optune can be used as part of standard treatment before the disease progresses.
Electrodes are placed on the patient’s scalp to deliver low-intensity, alternating electrical fields called “tumor treatment fields.” The electrical fields target the tumor identified on the MRI and interfere with the ability of the rapidly dividing cells to multiply. The electrical fields do not impact normal brain tissue.
“The large bandages on the scalp use electrical currents aimed directly at the tumor to interfere with cellular function so the cells die,” Dr. Cavaliere said. “Data shows that the benefits of upfront treatment with Optune is greater than using it after the tumor comes back.”
To make an appointment for cancer treatment or for more information, a dedicated patient scheduling center is available at 1.844. 632.2278 (1.844.MDA.BAPTIST) or go to BaptistMDAnderson.com.