Tumor Treating Fields for Brain Metastases in Lung Cancer Boost Quality of Life With Some Trade-Offs

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For patients with non-small lung cancer and brain metastases, it’s important to consent to shaving the scalp before tumor-treating fields therapy.

While tumor-treating (TT) fields require patients to shave their head for use, the therapy did lead to better quality of life than supportive care in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with brain metastases, an expert told CURE®.

At the 2024 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, Dr. Minesh Mehta spoke about what patients should discuss with their doctors regarding TT fields. Mehta is the chief of radiation oncology and deputy director of Baptist Health Miami Cancer Institute.

“The key considerations that patients might need to consider are the fact that they do have to shave their scalp in order to use this device,” he explained. Agreeing to shaving the scalp for this therapy is essential for the therapy to work for patients, according to Mehta.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, TT fields used via mild electrical fields that go through the skin on the scalp to disrupt the division of cancer cells. However, TT fields have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for patients with glioblastoma and mesothelioma, not for brain metastases yet, Mehta noted.

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Results from the phase 3 METIS study found that quality of life in patients was “better preserved in patients receiving tumor-treating field therapy than those on best supportive care,” Mehta said.

Because the therapy requires the fields to sit on the scalp, a common side effect is a skin reaction on the scalp. Of note, this side effect is typically mild to serious and approximately 2% of patients experienced severe or worse regarding skin reactions from the therapy, Mehta explained.

Transcript:

So currently, tumor treating fields therapy is approved for patients with other indications such as glioblastoma and mesothelioma. It is not yet approved for patients with brain metastasis. This should be a consideration in the future once FDA approval is achieved for this particular disease.

The key considerations that patients might need to consider are the fact that they do have to shave their scalp in order to use this device. And so, compliance from patients requires patient agreement to be able to do this. The other thing that's important is that this therapy works only when it's applied to the scalp. So, patients need to be compliant in terms of having it on as maximally as possible.

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