Tumour-treating fields (TTFields) : investigations on the mechanism of action by electromagnetic exposure of cells in telophase/cytokinesis
Tumour-treating fields (TTFields) use alternating electric fields which interfere with dividing cells, thereby reducing tumour growth. Previous reports suggest that electrical forces on cell structure proteins interfered with the chromosome separation during mitosis and induced apoptosis. In the present report we evaluate electromagnetic exposure of cells in telophase/cytokinesis in order to further analyse the mechanism of action on cells. We performed numerical electromagnetic simulations to analyse the field distribution in a cell during different mitotic phases. Based thereon, we developed an electric lumped element model of the mitotic cell. Both the electromagnetic simulation and the lumped element model predict a local increase of the specific absorption rate (SAR) as a measure of the electromagnetically induced power absorption density at the mitotic furrow which may help to explain the anti-proliferative effect. In accordance with other reports, cell culture experiments confirmed that TTFields reduce the proliferation of different glioma cell lines in a field strength- and frequency-dependent manner. Furthermore, we found an additional dependence on the commutation time of the electrical fields. The report gives new insights into TTFields' anti-proliferative effect on tumours, which could help to improve future TTFields application systems.