Tumor treating fields plus temozolomide for newly diagnosed glioblastoma: a sub-group analysis of Korean patients in the EF-14 phase 3 trial

J Neurooncol. 2020 Feb;146(3):399-406. doi: 10.1007/s11060-019-03361-2. Epub 2020 Feb 4.


Background: Tumor treating fields (TTFields) are anti-mitotic, non-invasive loco-regional cancer therapy comprising low intensity, intermediate frequency alternating electric fields. TTFields plus Temozolomide (TTFields/TMZ) extended survival versus TMZ alone in newly diagnosed glioblastoma (GBM) patients in the EF-14 trial. We report on Korean newly diagnosed GBM patients who participated in the EF-14 trial.

Methods: Thirty-nine participants of the EF-14 trial were enrolled at 8 sites in South Korea. Patients (24 TTFields/TMZ; 14 TMZ alone) received: TTFields (200 kHz) for > 18 h/day; TMZ at 120-150 mg for 5 days per a 28 day cycle. Safety and efficacy were assessed.

Results: Patient baseline characteristics were balanced in the 2 arms and the mean age was 52.1 years, 66.7% were male with a mean KPS of 90. Safety incidence was comparable between the 2 arms. In the TTFields/TMZ arm, 30% suffered from skin irritation versus 52% in the entire study population. No TTFields-related serious adverse events were reported. The median progression-free survival (PFS) in the TTFields/TMZ arm was 6.2 months (95% CI 4.2-12.2) versus 4.2 (95% CI 1.9-11.2) with TMZ alone (p = 0.67). Median overall survival was 27.2 months (95% CI 21-NA) with TTFields/TMZ versus 15.2 months (95% CI 7.5-24.1; HR 0.27, p = 0.01) with TMZ alone.

Conclusion: Median OS and 1- and 2-year survival rates were higher with TTFields/TMZ and similar to the entire EF-14 population. About 30% of patients reported skin irritation, a lower rate than seen in the entire EF-14 population. These results demonstrate the efficacy and safety of TTFields in Korean newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients.

Clinical trials: Clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00916409.

Keywords: Glioblastoma; Korean GBM patients; Tumor treating fields.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating / therapeutic use*
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy*
  • Female
  • Glioblastoma / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Progression-Free Survival
  • Republic of Korea
  • Temozolomide / therapeutic use*
  • Young Adult


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating
  • Temozolomide

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00916409