Gliomas usually need treatment with chemotherapy about a month after you have recovered from surgery to slow the growth of the tumor and to address portions of tumor that could not be removed with surgery due to the potential for too much neurological damage. You can receive drug therapy at the Day Hospital in the Clinical Cancer Center at Froedtert Hospital. The facility provides patients with the highest level of care in a comforting treatment setting.

Systemic therapy for meningiomas is reserved for people who have tumors that can no longer be removed with surgery due to risks to their functions and who have exhausted their radiation therapy options. Chemotherapy and other drug therapies for meningiomas are limited.

Currently, there is no role for targeted therapy or immunotherapy for primary brain tumors. While immunotherapy has not yet been FDA-approved for primary brain tumors, there is some clinical research in process to assess its role.

Neuroprotective drugs are used to prevent damage to the brain that can be a side effect with different types of treatment. They are not currently used for primary brain tumors, but they represent an interesting area of potential future interventions to prevent treatment-induced injury in brain tumor patients. 

Optune (TTfields)

Optune® is a medical device that uses electric fields to target and disrupt cancer cells while preserving healthy brain cells. It is used for newly diagnosed grade IV glioblastoma in conjunction with maintenance chemotherapy and for glioblastoma that comes back after treatment.

Transducer arrays are attached to the scalp and connected to a system that delivers alternating electric fields to the brain. These fields target and disrupt the dividing cancer cells, causing them to die while leaving the healthy brain cells untouched.

Optune is a portable, noninvasive device that you can use continuously at home, work, school or anywhere else you need to go. The system comes with four battery packs — allowing you to move freely while you go about your daily routine. When you are sleeping or relaxing, you can plug the unit into a wall outlet. The entire unit fits into a small case that can be worn as a backpack or over the shoulder.

In addition to the freedom it affords, Optune does not have the same side effects as chemotherapy or other treatment options. As a result, patients using Optune reported a better quality of life while undergoing treatment.

Watch these manufacturer videos to learn more about how the Optune system works and how it made a difference in patients' lives.

Radiation Therapy

In addition to chemotherapy, gliomas are treated with radiation therapy to slow tumor growth and address tumor tissue that couldn’t be removed with surgery.

For a meningioma, your team may recommend radiation therapy if surgery is not an option or if your tumor recurs (comes back) after surgery. 

Monitoring Your Brain Tumor During and After Treatment

All members of your treatment team are involved with ongoing care but your neuro-oncologist is a person you might think of as the “quarterback” of the brain tumor treatment team. This specialist will be one of the first you and your family see to discuss the results of imaging and biopsies, your diagnosis, and to begin laying out a treatment plan. The neuro-oncologist is in constant communication with other members of your care team including a neurosurgeon, radiation oncologist, medical oncologist and other key specialists. As you progress through treatment, you will meet with your neuro-oncologist for the following check-ins.

  • Monitor your blood work.
  • Watch for and manages side effects of treatment.
  • Review MRI scans (along with a neuroradiologist) to assess treatment effectiveness, recommend changes if needed and monitor long-term to detect changes that need attention early. MRI scans are done every few months when you are on active treatment.
  • Manage neurological symptoms that arise from your brain tumor. Symptoms can be managed with physical, occupational and speech therapies or medications like anti-seizure drugs or steroids prescribed by your neuro-oncologist.
  • Discuss psychosocial issues such as adjustment disorders, anxiety or depression. Your neuro-oncologist will treat these issues or may refer you to a counselor.
  • Monitor you through hospice and end-of-life care if needed.

Virtual Visits Are Available

Safe and convenient virtual visits by video let you get the care you need via a mobile device, tablet or computer wherever you are. We’ll gather your medical records for you and get our experts’ input so we can offer treatment options without an in-person visit. To schedule a virtual visit, call 1-866-680-0505.