Mayo Clinic in Arizona offers new treatment for recurrent brain tumors

Volume 2, Issue 1, 2013

Summary

A new treatment for glioblastoma slows and reverses tumor growth by inhibiting cell division and replication.

Alyx Porter, M.D.

Alyx Porter, M.D.

Mayo Clinic in Arizona is the first and only clinical center in the Southwest to offer a new treatment that disrupts the growth of recurrent glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive type of primary brain tumor.

The new treatment features the NovoTTF-100A System, a portable, noninvasive medical device that affixes to a patient's head and provides continuous electrical pulses targeted to tumor sites throughout the day. The device has been shown to slow and reverse tumor growth by inhibiting mitosis, the process by which cells divide and replicate.

"Glioblastoma is a difficult disease," said Alyx B. Porter, M.D., neuro-oncologist at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. "What is exciting is that we're now able to offer a treatment option to patients who have not been able to tolerate other treatments."

Glioblastoma are called grow-and-go tumors. They not only grow rapidly at a given site but also move rapidly to new sites.

Dr. Porter is the first physician in the Southwest region of the U.S. to be certified to use the NovoTTF-100A System. The device creates a low-intensity, alternating electric field within the tumor that exerts physical forces on electrically charged cellular components. This electrical charge can inhibit the normal mitotic process and cause cancer cell death prior to division. In patients with recurrent glioblastoma, the treatment has shown effectiveness comparable to active chemotherapies but without many of the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy.

"The brain is such a specialized organ that surgery is not always an option like it is with other tumor types," Dr. Porter said. "As science progresses, we are constantly looking at new ways to diagnose with advanced imagery and molecularly analyze tumors to better tailor treatment, and treatment modalities like TTF will play an increasingly important role."

The NovoTTF-100A System was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in April 2011 for the treatment of recurrent glioblastoma. It is available in the U.S. at centers whose clinical staff has been trained and certified in the use of the system.

Watch a video of Dr. Porter discussing this new treatment.