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IRESSA....how long do you give it to see if it works????


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My husband started Iressa 3 weeks ago tommorrow.... his onc told us that he will see us on monday 9/20 to evaluate whether or not it is working..... he gave Taxotere 6 weeks and did a repeat CT to find progression of disease..... thats when he changed him to Iressa...

the thing that puzzles me is that in Florida, when we went to Mayo Clinic, the docs there said they would give Iressa about 5 months to work...they said it takes time....

i cannot find any info on Iressa's website and since the oncologists are more like artists than scientists in the sense that they each have their own goals and methods of obtaining them, it makes it extremely difficult to sort through the differrences like this.... whose right? whose wrong? i know it is really anybody's guess with these drugs and it is different for everyone....

my question is, does anyone have any experiences with how long it takes Ireesa to kick in and show whether it is controlling the disease or not?

thanks in advance for any helpful words....


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I had my first CT scan 2 months after starting Iressa, and have one every other month after. On the first scan it showed "slight" shrinkage and stable. On the second ct scan (which would be 4 months on Iressa) scan showed stable.

Hope this helps. I'm sure it is different with everyone.


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June 8, 2004, I had a PET scan and the places on spine and hip were gone. The activity on the lung and lymph had decreased. I had been on carboplatin and gemzar. Took several more treatments of that and on August 4, started on Iressa. Took last pill on Sept 2, had PET scan Sept 7.

According to onc, a PET scan shows nothing smaller than a lima bean and nothing showed up on the scan. This was a one month treatment. I will see the onc tomorrow and see what he plans to do in the future. Marion

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Iressa is kind of a funny drug. I was the investigator at our institution on the open access trial and treated about 60 people with it and probably another 20-30 since FDA approval so have pretty large experience with it. Responses to Iressa fall into 2 categories: the times when it works and the times when it WORKS. When Iressa works it can be slow and often just stops tumor progression so I definitely wouldn't draw conclusions too fast - 3 weeks is not enough. On the other hand when Iressa WORKS you know immediately. My most amazing response was a woman who was literally on deaths door, almost unresponsive and requiring 15 liters of oxygen with near complete obliteration of both lungs. We had been through all of the available chemo options. Before going on hospice, we decided to try Iressa shortly after we were able to get our hands on it through the open access program. 4 days later she WALKED into my office off of oxygen. She went scuba diving in the Caymans 3 months later. I have never in my entire medical career seen anything like it.

So what your oncologist and what the Mayo docs are telling you are both correct. When it WORKS you know immediately, sometimes within 48 hours (I have seen that kind of response several times now). But I wouldn't give up on it after just a few weeks if there isn't tumor shrinkage because it can still stop the cancer progression without being quite so dramatic.


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My mother noticed her symtoms went away within a few days of starting Iressa. AT her one month check up, her oncologist was thrilled and said that was a VERY good sign. Although, they aren't doing scans until a little before her 2 month mark.

Joe - that is an absolutely amazing story.

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