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Survey: Attention folks responding to Tarceva/Iressa!


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Just doing a little survey to test a theory.

I have BAC and have been lucky enough to respond really well to Iressa and Tarceva. Most clinical studies I've read indicate Asian people are most apt to respond well, although they don't know why yet. I'm not Asian. But I do have type B blood.

Long before I knew I had cancer, I was researching tracing ancestral origins around the world by blood typing. (I watch the 3 Stooges, too, okay? :wink: )I learned that type B is the third most rare and is mostly found in Asian peoples of the world. Well, I trace my B positive blood back to Ireland, where B is a rare type in the population. How'd it get there? Who knows?

I'm just wondering what blood type other Tarceva/Iressa responders have? I mentioned it to my doctor this week (he's heavy into research of EGFR-inhibitors) and he said, "Hmmmm! I'll look into the studies I have access to. Maybe you've discovered something!" I think he was being kind, but who knows?

So please answer the poll question and lets' see if there's anything to my theory! I don't know how to make this a special poll question - sorry!



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Hi Leslie,

This won't probably help in your survey right now but I just want to say thanks for the information! We're of Asian descent (my grandparents are from China but migrated to the Philippines). Dad's oncologist says that after completing the 6 sessions of chemo she might put him on Tarceva, so that is some good news. (He's blood type A though) He'll finish chemo around early October, if I'm not mistaken. I'll let you know by then! :)

I have a question on Tarceva. They say that over here it costs 175,000 Philippine pesos a month. (That's around $3120 US plus tax) Considering that we're a third world country, it's really really pricey and insurance does not cover it. How much does it cost over there? Because if it's cheaper then we might ask relatives to buy them from the US. So sorry for this bit of trouble.

Thanks so much!



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Hi Frances!

(I like your new photo, by the way!)

Anyway, Tarceva does cost about $2500-3000 a month here! Most US insurance companies will pay for it if the patient has already had two rounds of carbon-based chemo with cancer growth following. That's why they won't pay for it for me, because, just for strange reasons, I never had chemo first.

However, The manufacturer, Genentech, is constantly fighting with the insurance companies on patients' behalf and will generally make it available free to the patient if you meet income limits and insurance turns you down. They have quite a high income maximum, so that's how I get it. It's shipped to my doorstep every month by Federal Express.

I'm sure that could be worked out for your Dad. They do this outside the US as well as inside.

Go to this website for info and good luck! They're very nice people and will answer a lot of your questions, too.


P.S. I just went to the website to check and they say if you are outside the US to contact their distrubtor Roche Pharmacuticals. For your area, here's the contact info:

Location Address

Roche (Philippines) Inc.

2252 Don Chino Roces Avenue

1259 Makati, Metro Manila


Tel +63-2-893 4567

Fax +63-2-893 3030 (Corporate, Pharma)

Fax +63-2-893 0617 (Diagnostics)

But, check out the website I gave you first for immediate info. :wink:

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Thanks so much Leslie! And just my luck, Roche's address is very near where I work. I'll tell my mom about that, too.

Well, I hope more people will answer this survey (hint, hint) who knows it might lead to some helpful information, or better yet, a breakthrough! Keeping my fingers crossed for that :)



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Jeffrey has Northern European ancestry ( German and Austrian) and has type o positive blood. He did not respond at all to Tarceva...nothing, no rash, no side effects, nada. It was as if he was taking aspirin. However, he is getting a resounding response to Alimta. Hmmm, go figure. It sure reminds us how much we don't know about the beast.


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Hey Leslie,

Tarceva is working great for me. My blood type is O+, and I did have the rash and dry skin. I'm 35 and began treatment with chemo(cisplatin and Etoposide) and radiation(37 treatments) and had 6 cycles of Taxotere before I started Tarceva.

Hope this helps! :lol:

Good Luck with your survey,


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Hi Jamie -- I just wanted to say welcome too, I don't believe I have seen a post from you before. I am glad to hear the drug is holding you stable!

Leslie -- I had never heard any link to blood type before, and find your survey interesting -- I look forward to seeing the outcome!

(I posted a survey in the past trying to see if there was a link between thyroid issues and lung cancer -- seems a lot of people have them both)

Good luck!


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Hi Leslie,

I have had dramatic results with Tarceva and I have O+ blood. My oncologist told me yesterday of the success rate with Tarceva and it was a lot less than I ever thought. Obviously there has to be a reason why it works with some people and not others.

Good luck with your survey!!

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Leslie thanks for posting such an interesting way of looking at this. I have looked into diet and blood types but not medications. This will be very interesting.

My husband is of German decent, and has type O negative blood. We'll see what the doctor recomends soon. It is great to see everyone post what blood type they are, what meds they are on and how they worked!

I am also interested in how diet affects cancer and cancer medication...sugar, dairy, white flour, etc...

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