Anticipating Adverse Effects Helps Mesothelioma Patient Comply with Optune Lua

One of the most exciting new protocols available for the treatment of malignant mesothelioma is a device known as Optune Lua, or Tumor Treating Fields. Already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it is a wearable that uses electrical fields to interrupt cancer cell division, thus slowing and sometimes stopping tumor growth. In the face of some patients experiencing adverse side effects involving the skin, physicians have offered advice for prophylactic steps that will improve patient compliance.

Mesothelioma Treatment Is Effective But Can Cause Skin Side Effects

The tumor treating fields device is a wearable that mesothelioma patients attach to the skin, so dermal side effects do not come as a complete surprise. According to a report published in the journal Frontiers in Oncology, patients using the equipment for both mesothelioma and for glioblastoma have complained of itching, sweating and dry skin that is troublesome enough to make some discontinue its use. This is a concern, as continued compliance has shown significant positive survival outcomes.

Mesothelioma patients who are prescribed the Optune Lua are instructed to wear it for 18 hours each day, using adhesive patches to provide maximum benefit. Side effects were reported by 71 percent of mesothelioma patients, and though most were mild to moderate, five percent of patients had severe adverse effects. To counter the negative impact of the skin side effects experienced by patients using Optune Lua, scientists from Novocure have published a downloadable document offering suggestions for their management. 

Experts Identify Adverse Side Effects and Provide Management Suggestions

In the face of mesothelioma patients opting out of the device due to irritation, sweating, dry skin, itching, ulcers and infection, study author Mario Lacouture of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York wrote, “Since survival benefit from TTFields increases with duration-of-use, prevention and management of skin Adverse Effects are critical to maximize adherence.” He said that this is particularly important in patients whose treatment protocols have already compromised their immune systems. 

The experts have suggested that mesothelioma patients being treated with the Optune Lua use antibiotics, moisturizers, topical corticosteroids, antiperspirants and skin barrier films to reduce the impact of skin irritation, and avoid using petroleum-based products, which can reduce the effectiveness of the treatment. “These recommendations may improve cutaneous health and support adherence to therapy, both of which would maximize treatment outcomes.”

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and would like information about tumor treating fields or any other treatment option, the Patient Advocates at can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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