Biological activity of tumor-Treating fields in preclinical glioma models

Manuela Silginer, Michael Weller, Roger Stupp, Patrick Roth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive form of intrinsic brain tumor with a very poor prognosis. Thus, novel therapeutic approaches are urgently needed. Tumor-Treating fields (TTFields) may represent such a novel treatment option. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of TTFields on glioma cells, as well as the functional characterization of the underlying mechanisms. Here, we assessed the anti-glioma activity of TTFields in several preclinical models. Applying TTFields resulted in the induction of cell death in a frequency-and intensity-dependent manner in long-Term glioma cell lines, as well as glioma-initiating cells. Cell death occurred in the absence of caspase activation, but involved autophagy and necroptosis. Severe alterations in cell cycle progression and aberrant mitotic features, such as poly-and micronucleation, preceded the induction of cell death. Furthermore, exposure to TTFields led to reduced migration and invasion, which are both biological hallmarks of glioma cells. The combination of TTFields with irradiation or the alkylating agent, temozolomide (TMZ), resulted in additive or synergistic effects, and the O 6-methyl-guanine DNA methyltransferase status did not influence the efficacy of TTFields. Importantly, TMZ-resistant glioma cells were responsive to TTFields application, highlighting the clinical potential of this therapeutic approach. In summary, our results indicate that TTFields induce autophagy, as well as necroptosis and hamper the migration and invasiveness of glioma cells. These findings may allow for a more detailed clinical evaluation of TTFields beyond the clinical data available so far.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2753
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 20 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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