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Targeted Therapy


marc9338

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Curious on types of treatment plans...  My Oncologist has not yet decided on treatment plan, but seems to be leaning towards a targeted therapy option.  I've heard people say they've had chemo and targeted therapy together.  Does it sound right to only go down a targeted therapy path?

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Marc,

 

In the support group that we went to once the results were very good. Our Dr. who is supposed to be really good and up on everything explained to us that it is best. It targets a specific type of cancer mutation rather than using a general chemo. I wish I could think of the analogy he gave us. It was like lights on in a building and the targeted therapy goes in and just turns them off. The lights were the cancer or the cancer mutations.

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I was diagnosed with stage 4 adenocarcinoma and tested positive for the ALK mutation nearly 15 months ago. I was not a candidate for surgery. I was immediately started on an oral targeted therapy drug Xalkori (crizotinib) and have had no progression and have remained stable on this drug. I had a few side effects in the beginning mostly some visual disturbance when walking from a dark room into a lighted room. I had several bouts of diarrhea which was resolved with a probiotic. If you test positive for certain gene mutations targeted therapy is recommended for the first line of treatment in many cases.

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Thanks guys.  I appreciate the quick feedback.

 

One more question...  In regards to the Targeted Therapy, can it shrink/eliminate tumors or does it only keep them stable?

 

Thanks

Marc

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Marc,

 

I think your question evolves to a choice - conventional chemo and targeted therapy and if it is wise to choose only targeted therapy.

 

If your tumor cancer displays characteristics that make it vulnerable to target therapy, then I would be inclined to choose targeted therapy.  In the past, targeted therapies have been administered concurrently with conventional chemo.  But, there have been studies that have shown that the targeted therapy alone is the effective agent and therefore the standard of care protocol has been changed to administration of the targeted therapy alone as first line treatment.

 

I can't cite the studies but your oncologist should be able to discuss these.  But, if the targeted therapy drug is approved for first line treatment without combination therapy (other drugs), then it falls into a new standard of first line treatment.  If it were me, I'd chose it.

 

Can it shrink or eliminate tumors?  From what I've read, yes.  And in some, it only keeps them stable.  Each person is different so the drug will respond differently.  There will be an in-process scan performed (generally 2 months into treatment) that will assess effectiveness and that is when you'll know how the targeted therapy drug is working on your cancer.  One more thing to ask your doctor about is your cancer's ability to mutate against the targeted therapy agent.  I've read that this is a possibility for some targeted therapy formulations.

 

Stay the course.

 

Tom

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The cancer can re-mutate while on targeted therapy drugs and if that happens there are newer more effective drugs than the one I am on that hopefully will work for me. I was not a candidate for surgery.

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