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"Custom Chemo" - chemo sensitivity tests


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Thanks Ellen. This is the one thing I regret not doing--I would have this testing done on Charlie's tumors if I had it to do over. I personally encourage anyone starting out on this journey to give careful consideration to this. I would like to hear what oncodoc thinks. I haven't found a dr. yet that supports it. Take care.

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The following is pretty scary. Even if you pay for the test, your ins company still might not pay for the treatment the tests show would be most effective:


Only a few laboratories offer the cell-death CSRA tests, and they are expensive -- costing $2,000 or more. The tests often aren't paid for by insurance. Worse, if a lab test reports that an unusual combination of drugs is most likely to work, an insurance company may decline to pay for it because it's not standard.

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Whew, boy talk about a controversial topic.....

I have routinely used the Oncotech assay for ovarian cancer, I have not used it in lung cancer. It is a very seductive idea that you can grow cancers cells on a Petri dish and predict what happens in the human body but I've really just not had much luck with them. I have to say that I've not found the tests terribly helpful....what is predicted by the assays just seems often to not be what works out in the patient. The Oncotech assay probably has the best research behind it and there is a suggestion that in ovarian cancer it can be useful.

I think the newer assays that look at sensitivity by measuring a process called apoptosis (programmed cell suicide) might be the most promising but are definitely still considered in the research stage.

One obstacle to the testing is that it requires living tissue. When you have your initial surgery, the tumor has to be sent for testing right away, you can't come back and do it later. They are also usually not covered by insurance and are quite expensive.

Bottom line is, I'm certainly not opposed to CRSA's and I have used them but not in every case. I know you are probably sick of this phrase, but we really do need more research to see if they are worthwhile.

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