Current status of the preclinical evaluation of alternating electric fields as a form of cancer therapy

Christoph Pohling, Ha Nguyen, Edwin Chang, Keith E. Schubert, Ying Nie, Vladimir Bashkirov, Vicky Yamamoto, Yuping Zeng, Roger Stupp, Reinhard W. Schulte*, Chirag B. Patel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Exposing cancer cells to alternating electric fields of 100-300 kHz frequency and 1-4 V/cm strength has been shown to significantly reduce cancer growth in cell culture and in human patients. This form of anti-cancer therapy is more commonly referred to as tumor treating fields (TTFields), a novel treatment modality that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in patients with glioblastoma and malignant pleural mesothelioma. Pivotal trials in other solid organ cancer trials are underway. In regards to overall survival, TTFields alone is comparable to chemotherapy alone in recurrent glioblastoma. However, when combined with adjuvant chemotherapy, TTFields prolong median survival by 4.9 months in newly-diagnosed glioblastoma. TTFields hold promise as a therapeutic approach to numerous solid organ cancers. This review summarizes the current status of TTFields research at the preclinical level, highlighting recent aspects of a relatively complex working hypothesis. In addition, we point out the gaps between limited preclinical in vivo studies and the available clinical data. To date, no customized system for TTFields delivery in rodent models of glioblastoma has been presented. We aim to motivate the expansion of TTFields preclinical research and facilitate the availability of suitable hardware, to ultimately improve outcomes in patients with cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108287
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • Alternating electric fields
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Cancer
  • Preclinical
  • TTFields
  • Tumor treating fields

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Electrochemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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