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Starting Tarceva


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I haven't been around in a long time. Things seemed to be going well until last Feb. My mil suffered from steroid induced psychosis from the large dose of steroids she was getting for whole brain radiation. It took a long time for the steroids to get out of her system but once they did, she was pretty much back to normal. I say pretty much because we are noticing that she misuses a word or has a hard time finding the right word sometimes.

She recently had a full CT and we're told that the tumor in her lung is growing again and she now has a spot on her liver. We ask for specifics (how big? where?...) but my FIL rarely knows the answers.

The doctor has suggested that she start Tarceva. Should the spot on the liver be treated more aggressivley or is Tarceva her best option? She's already had 3 rounds of different chemo meds. Besides a rash, are there any other side effects that we should be looking for? Deep down I feel like her fight is coming to an end. She appears to be feeling fine but I just don't see that fighting spirit inside her as much. Next month it will be 2 years since she was diagnosed with Stage IV NSCLC.

Any suggestions or advice?

Thank You!

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Hopefully your MIL will be a Tarceva responder and it will help with the liver and the lungs. She may have diarreah in addition to the rash and also some fatigue. It kept me stable for 6 months.

Don't give up, sometimes it just takes finding the right treatment. I'm 2 years and 5 months from diagnosis, stage IIIB at diag, now stage IV.

Good luck.


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I'm a Tarceva fan! If it works for you, it works really well! I'm still feeling and doing great after taking Iressa and Tarceva since my dx in January! It has saved my life and allowed me to feel great at the same time. If it works for you MIL, it will work on the cancer cells wherever they are, liver included. (That's my understanding anyway.)

Sending all caring thoughts and strength to you and your mil for success with the Tarceva.


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I hope the tarceva works well for your mil. I have been watching people's ecperience with avastin, and it seems to help a lot of people when used with a platinum based drug and taxol or gemzar. I would try the tarceva first. You all have my prayers.

Don M

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Parers to your MIL. Tarceva has worked great for me and for that I am very thankful. Had my second scan and everything is still stable (6 months so far). I pray that it works for her.


Living life, Jamie

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I now have two kinds of Lung Cancer. Tarceva is keeping the first cancer (Bronchioloalveolar Carcinoma aka BAC)in remission. Last December I had recurrent disease and mets to the right side axilary lymph nodes. I started Tarceva on Dec. 26th, 2004, and by January 17th, 2005 all evidence of recurrent and metastatic disease was gone. Still is, apparently, because the surgery I had a few weeks ago to remove the tumor in my left lung shows the newest tumor to be a different form of cancer from BAC.

I've read numerous articles over the years that detail stories on people who have widespread Cancer, both lungs, into the bones, multiple mets to other organs, who have what are viewed as miraculous responses to Tarceva and Iressa.

There are different types of responders: those who have complete responses, with eventually no evidence of disease, and those who have some response, and attain disease stability for varying lengths of time. With Iressa I had initial response with eventual growth of disease and spread. I'm still in remission from the BAC with Tarceva.

Side effects are the skin rash. Please understand that this isn't just a typical acne like rash. And it does require extra care. My take has always been that I would rather live with the rash than without it. The other side effect is diarrhea. I use Immodium to help control it. You have to make certain that she does not become dehydrated, and it is easy for that to happen. Don't let the diarrhea go uncontrolled/untreated. If the Immodium doesn't work call the Doc and ask for something else. Any other symptom that arises should be brought to her Physician's attention ASAP. These drugs (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Inhibitors) are relatively new, and data is still being collected and evaluated as far as side effects go. The drugs go through rigorous testing processes, but the bottom line is it takes time and experience for all the different responses by humans to the drugs to occur.

I hope this info has been helpful.

And I'm sending prayers that your MIL has a very good response to the Tarceva.

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:idea: Invest in a good skin creme My wife was like sandpaper because her skin was so dry. Alternate drud might be Etopocide. Deb was on Tarceva for 6 months and it stopped working for her and the Onc switched to the Etopocide which is also testicular cancer and Lung cancer 15 weeks showed 30% reduction in size. Good Luck
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I like what everyone has been saying about the tarceva.

As far as your mom's spirits are concerned. That steroid psychosis is a bit a bugger...to put it mildly. She may be having lingering affects from it. It took me a long time to get back to "normal".

she may do well by taking a short vacation...one where she can get cancer and treatment off her mind. Even two or three days in another environment where her mind and senses are stimulated in different ways can be a huge boon to the spirits.

course you all have my prayers and love as well.

Cindi o'h

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