Tumor-Treating Fields: A fourth modality in cancer treatment, new practice updates

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2021 Nov 19;168:103535. doi: 10.1016/j.critrevonc.2021.103535. Online ahead of print.


Although major innovations in treatment are advancing, cancer persists as one of the leading causes of mortality. With the rising incidence of cancer and as we treat them, patients incur short term and long-term toxicities of current traditional therapies, including chemotherapy. This imposes a significant physical, emotional, and financial burden among patients, which affects their quality of life. Tumor-Treating Fields (TTFields) is a novel innovative new treatment modality that utilizes alternating electric fields at specific intermediate frequencies to diminish tumor growth by inhibiting mitosis and thus proliferation of malignant cells. The distinguishing feature of this new treatment modality is that it is noninvasive and tolerable. In fact, TTFields is currently FDA approved for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) as well as malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). Recently, TTFields have also been found to affect immunogenic cell death resulting in stronger anti-neoplastic effects. In this review, we discuss the mechanism of action of TTFields, the plethora of clinical trials being conducted in patients with GBM, pancreatic adenocarcinoma, ovarian cancer, non-small-cell-lung-cancer (NSCLC), brain metastasis from NSCLC, and MPM and toxicity profile.

Keywords: Cancer; Electric fields; Glioblastoma; Microtubule; Mitosis; Modality; Oncology; Overall survival; Progression free survival; Toxicity profile; Treatment; Tumor.

Publication types

  • Review