Cancer cells divide and multiply rapidly within the lung cancer tumor. These cancer cells carry different types of electrically charged elements that play a role during the cell division process. Other healthy cells in the thorax multiply at a much slower rate, if at all.

TTFields Mechanism of Action

The NovoTTF-100L device used in this trial delivers very low intensity, alternating electric fields to the tumor site through the skin and other tissues. These fields are known as Tumor Treating Fields or TTFields. Preclinical studies showed that due to the shape and size of cancer cells when they are multiplying, TTFields cause electrically-charged cellular components of these cells to change their location within the dividing cell, disrupting their normal function and may ultimately lead to cell death. In addition, cancer cells also contain miniature building blocks which act as tiny motors in moving essential parts of the cells from place to place. TTFields interfere with the normal orientation of these tiny motors since they are electrically-charged as well. As a result of these two effects, tumor cell division is slowed, resulting in cell division reversal leading to inhibition of tumor growth or potentially cell death after continuous exposure to TTFields. Preliminary data also indicate that the TTFields may affect the healthy cells within the thorax much less than cancer cells since healthy cells multiply at a much slower rate, if at all.

A summary of TTFields’ mechanism of action is illustrated in the following animation:

TTFIELDS ARE NOT APPROVED FOR THE TREATMENT OF NON SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER IN THE UNITED STATES.  THE SAFETY AND EFFICACY OF TTFIELDS FOR NON SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER HAS NOT BEEN ESTABLISHED.

Past clinical experience

A number of systems developed to deliver TTFields to different tumors have been tested to date. The main difference between the previously tested systems and the NovoTTF-100L is the frequency of TTFields provided by each system. The frequency is adjusted by the manufacturer of the systems in order to optimize the treatment for each treated cancer, based on data from laboratory experiments.

The NovoTTF-100L has been already tested in a pilot study for 42 patients with inoperable non-small cell lung cancer patients who received TTFields in combination with standard chemotherapy to test the safety of TTFields in this indication. The NovoTTF-100L has a CE Mark in Europe for the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer, following this study.

In glioblastoma, a type of aggressive primary brain tumor, the Optune® System delivering TTFields to the brain is approved by the FDA for the treatment of adults with recurrent and newly diagnosed disease. The same system has a CE Mark in Europe for the treatment of glioblastoma and is also now approved in Japan For more information about Optune®’s approved indications for use, please consult with your doctor or refer to the product information sheet.

Side effects

Based on the science behind TTFields and the clinical results to date, the NovoTTF-100L System is not expected to have systemic side effects in patients suffering from non-small cell lung cancer. In previous studies performed with Optune®, the system tested in glioblastoma, a high percentage of patients have experienced local skin irritation beneath the transducer arrays, which was mild to moderate in severity in the vast majority of cases.

In the aforementioned study for non-small cell lung cancer, there were no serious systemic side effects attributed by the study doctors to TTFields. The only side effect which was related to the device was mild to moderate skin irritation under the transducer arrays placed on the skin.

The information provided in this website is partial, and you should consult with your treating physician concerning the complete safety profile of TTFields.