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Tarceva KO's Brain Mets


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I was asked by a fellow board member if I wouldn't mind posting separately the Tarceva / brain mets comments from my latest message that I posted on my WBR / postradiation leukoencephalopathy thread. She thought that with all of the Tarceva users on this board that it would be more helpful to post this news seperately thereby reducing the chance that it might be overlooked and unread by Tarceva users who haven't had, or have no interest in, WBR. Makes sense, so here's the relevant portion of that message and I hope that some other Tarceva responders with brain mets are equally fortunate : ( I've edited it some for added clarity and perspective )

P.S. There has been some clinical studies and speculation about Tarceva use in treating brain cancer and / or brain mets. One piece of good news that I can share with you is, at least in my wife's case, Tarceva IS effective against brain mets secondary to NSCLC ( and, therefore, does cross the BBB ). The four brain mets that she had prior to starting Tarceva on 3/3/05 were described as " completely resolved " on her latest brain MRI.

These four tumors have always been the primary focus of all of my wife's MRI and CT brain scans. WBR cleared up some small suspect areas in her brain but only slightly shrunk a couple of these four remaining tumors. Basically, there was no significant change in size or morphology of these tumors throughout conventional chemo up to starting Tarceva.

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Bill. You bring up a very important indication about cancer treatment. There are many cancer drug regimens, all of which have approximately the same probability of working. The tumors of different patients have different responses to chemotherapy. Tumors grow and spread in different ways and their response to treatment depends on these unique characteristics. The amount of chemotherapy that each patient can tolerate varies considerably from patient to patient. What is needed is individualized treatment based on testing the individual properties of each patient's cancer.

Increasingly, targeted oral-dose anti-cancer drugs (like Iressa, Tarceva and Temador) are found to treat cancers effectively in those that it is helping, and seen as an intergral and necessary part of a patient's cancer care. A number of these breakthrough cancer drugs come on to the market that are only in oral form. Therapeutic protocols currently in use are limited in their effectiveness, because they are based on the results of clinical trials conducted on a general population, yet no two patients are alike.

Which cancer drugs would be most effective? Test the tumor first. These targeted cancer therapies will give doctors a better way to tailor cancer treatment. Treatments need to be individualized based on the unique set of molecular targets produced by the patient's tumor, and these important treatment advances will require individualized assay-testing which can improve patient survival in chemotherapy for cancer.

More and more physicians and patients are turning to individualized therapies to treat cancers. Under this approach, scientists study how an individual's cancerous cells respond to several drugs. Doctors have learned that even when the disease is the same type, different patients' tumors respond differently to chemotherapeutic drugs.

There are over 100 different therapeutic drug regimens out there (400 are in the pipeline). Any one or combination of them can help cancer patients. The system is overloaded with drugs and under loaded with wisdom and expertise for using them. What's needed is to make extensive use of cell-culture assay-tests in treatment decisions. We can't afford too much trial and error treatment.

You may want to look at virtualtrials.com about a Chemosensitivity assay for malignant brain tumors (brain mets). Chemosensitivity testing might help you find the best option. It's an idea worth looking into.


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Thanks for the information. At this time, I am taking Tarceva and have been for approximately 8 months and I have continued to remain stable. The fact that it does cross the BBB gives a survivor even more hope. Having hope helps with your attitude. In my mind, ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING!!!

Thanks for the hope!!



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I've had all the WBR (between PCI and WBR after they first found brain mets)I can have....so when the brain mets appeared again.....this time I was put on Temodar....pill form chemo. Have only had one dose so far, but tolerated it well. Another option to ask about??

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