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Depending on new scans my doctor has suggested either Traveca or Irrisa. Based on what I have read here most don’t seem to care for it. My understanding is Irrisa has been shown to not increase survival. I am assuming Traveca/Irrisa are basically the same type of drug??. If there is no increase of survival, it’s a done deal I won’t use it. Any one hear of the latest info on there value. I’m not necessarily worried about the side effects. Any thoughts are appreciated



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I was on Iressa for 8 months and did very well with it. I had "slight" shrinkage at first and then remained stable. I had very little rash and some moderate tummy trouble.

Since the study came out about Iressa, my doctor at MD Anderson decided to switch me to Tarceva. Iressa and Tarceva are the exact same drug and work in the exact same way. The difference is that the dosage is formulated differently. Iressa 250mg has less dosage than Tarceva 150 mg. You get more of the medication in the Tarceva dosage, which is why they get better survival rates, and why the side effects are worse with Tarceva.

I've only been on it 10 days, so I will see how it treats me in the long run. Right now I feel like a walking pimple!

Hope this helps.


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Bo -

We just got back from seeing Mom's oncologist who was on the FDA committee that fast tracked the Iressa approval (although she voted against it). Her explanation for the new data on Iressa is that in the two trials that they looked at only 10% of the individuals responded so if you look at the overall trial it appears to not improve survivial BUT if you look at the 10% who did respond there are individuals who are going to have extended survival - my Mom is a perfect case in point, she has had tremendous sucess from Iressa with considerable shrinkage and being stable for 8 months with minimal side effects and VERY good quality of life.

Mom's onc did not mention anything about them pulling Iressa from the market and gave her another 3 month rx. She said Iressa is not hurting anyone and part of the reason it is getting so much attention is because there was an high expectation that this would be the new wonder drug and it is but only for a small population.

I think that each oncologist is handling this information how they see fit as evidenced by the many different responses. I wish you the best of luck and hope you find something that works well for you.

Much Love,


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Bo, Tarceva has been shown to improve survival when compared to placebo in patients who have been previously treated with chemotherapy by an average of 2 months. HOWEVER, if you look at the subset of patients that responded (the above statistic includes non-responders) the curves are fairly amazing and the benefit in some has continued for over 2 years. Tarceva and Iressa are the same in that they both inhibit the EGFR protein but they are not exactly the same chemical compound so it is possible that Tarceva is a better drug. There was a prior study looking at Iressa at a higher dose (500mg) which also showed no survival benefit so I'm not sure that it is just that Tarceva is a higher dose.

You might want to check if you have an adenocarcinoma or squamous cell cancer. The response rate in squamous cancers is pretty low and I don't usually recommend it in that situation if there are other options.

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Dr JOE!!!!!!! I am so glad to see you, this is wonderful, awesome, and a answered prayer. Please know you have been greatly missed by many and have been in our thoughts daily.

I wish I had some questions for you to answer but all is well here.

God bless you, he has us..


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Iressa has been very good to John for quite some time. It will be interesting to see what happens when he goes to the oncologist I am wondering if he will get switched to the Tarceva or continue with the Iressa. Whatever your doctor decides I wish you success.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest vanessa

I am a little delayed in responding to your posting, but I wanted to put in my 2 cents!

My mom was diagnosed in August 04 with advanced NSCLC...mets to the brain. the first line of defense (even before chemo) was Iressa and she has responded VERY well to it so far. the mass in her lung is virtually gone, and she feels great. she's had some mild symptoms, but overall she is doing great and back at work.

for the brain mets, she had whole brain radiation. she has a brain scan later this month (cross fingers).

As for the recent news on Iressa, the FDA will be discussing it's fate on March 4. As long as there are people it is helping, I would hope they don't take it off the market.

Think positive :)

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Bo.. Only my two cents, and lets face it , advice or comments are sometimes only worth that... Given that.. If you are progressing, I would most definitely follow the advice of the DR's , know more, than we do. If however, you are up for it, what about a clinical trial. Perhaps asking your Dr. for a recomendation I feel ( heres my opinion part) the cure for lung cancer is in clinicsl trials. I personally rolled up my sleeve and pant leg actually, and took a trial vaccine. Will do another if I have too, but so for, I am stable. Great clinical trial website. nih.gov..... Best of luck.....

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I was NED and took Iressa for two months as a trial - suppressive therapy. I was supposed to take it for a year, but was pulled off due to side effects. I guess it's all in how it's presented, but when asked if I wanted to do something to work at keeping it from ever coming back, I jumped on it. Seemed like a no-brainer to me, since I had to have a flu shot and a pneumonia shot and Iressa was "just a pill"... :roll:

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