Objective: The present work proposes a new clinical approach to TTFields therapy of glioblastoma. The approach combines targeted surgical skull removal (craniectomy) with TTFields therapy to enhance the induced electrical field in the underlying tumor tissue. Using computer simulations, we explore the potential of the intervention to improve the clinical efficacy of TTFields therapy of brain cancer. Methods: We used finite element analysis to calculate the electrical field distribution in realistic head models based on MRI data from two patients: One with left cortical/subcortical glioblastoma and one with deeply seated right thalamic anaplastic astrocytoma. Field strength was assessed in the tumor regions before and after virtual removal of bone areas of varying shape and size (10 to 100 mm) immediately above the tumor. Field strength was evaluated before and after tumor resection to assess realistic clinical scenarios. Results: For the superficial tumor, removal of a standard craniotomy bone flap increased the electrical field strength by 60-70% in the tumor. The percentage of tissue in expected growth arrest or regression was increased from negligible values to 30-50%. The observed effects were highly focal and targeted at the regions of pathology underlying the craniectomy. No significant changes were observed in surrounding healthy tissues. Median field strengths in tumor tissue increased with increasing craniectomy diameter up to 50-70 mm. Multiple smaller burr holes were more efficient than single craniectomies of equivalent area. Craniectomy caused no significant field enhancement in the deeply seated tumor, but rather a focal enhancement in the brain tissue underlying the skull defect. Conclusions: Our results provide theoretical evidence that small and clinically feasible craniectomies may provide significant enhancement of TTFields intensity in cerebral hemispheric tumors without severely compromising brain protection or causing unacceptable heating in healthy tissues. A clinical trial is being planned to validate safety and efficacy.
Copyright: © 2016 Korshoej et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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