NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Brain Cancer – Gliomas, Version 1.2016
Test and treatment overview Alternating electric field therapy | Clinical trials
Alternating electric field therapy
Alternating electric field therapy is a cancer treatment
that uses low-intensity electromagnetic energy. It is
also called TTFields (
treatment may be an option for glioblastomas. Read
Part 3 to learn when it is an option.
TTFields disrupt the process by which cells make
copies of themselves. This approach relies on the
theory that no new cancer cells are made. Existing
cancer cells also die.
Treatment will be received through 4 patches safely
taped to your scalp. You will have to shave your
head. The patches will be attached to an energy-
producing device and a battery that can be carried
with you. As such, you will be able to go home and
do most daily activities. The patches are worn for at
least 18 hours a day for at least 4 weeks. The most
common side effect is skin irritation.
New tests and treatments aren’t offered to the
public as soon as they’re made. They first need
to be studied. A clinical trial is a type of research
that studies a test or treatment in people. Joining a
clinical trial is encouraged.
Clinical trials study how safe and helpful tests and
treatments are for people. When found to be safe
and helpful, they may become tomorrow’s standard
of care. Because of clinical trials, the tests and
treatments in this book are now widely used to help
people with glioma. Future tests and treatments that
may have better results than today’s treatments will
depend on clinical trials.
New tests and treatments go through a series of
clinical trials to make sure they’re safe and work.
Without clinical trials, there is no way to know if a
test or treatment is safe or helpful. Clinical trials have
four phases. Some examples of the four phases for
trials aim to find the best dose of a new
drug and the best way to give it with the fewest
side effects. These trials often involve about 20
trials assess if a drug works for a
specific type of cancer.
trials compare a new drug to the
standard treatment. These trials often involve
hundreds or thousands of people.
trials test new drugs approved by the
U.S. FDA (
many patients with different types of cancer.
Joining a clinical trial has benefits. First, you’ll have
access to the most current cancer care. Second, you
will receive the best management of care. Third, the
results of your treatment—both good and bad—will
be carefully tracked. Fourth, you may help other
people who will have cancer in the future.
Clinical trials have risks, too. Like any test or
treatment, there may be side effects. Also, new tests
or treatments may not help. Another downside may
be that paperwork or more trips to the hospital are
To join a clinical trial, you must meet the conditions
of the study. Patients in a clinical trial are often alike
in terms of their cancer and general health. This is to
know that any progress is because of the treatment
and not because of differences between patients.