Sep 27, 2003 - 11:17 pm
I am trying to raise awareness of chemoresistance/sensitivity testing as a result of my own success with this screening method. I am a 42 yo male, non-smoker who was diagnosed in may 2003 with NSCLC stage 3b. I insisted on having my tumor screened before I began chemo and had a lymph node removed to provide the sample for the test. The testing takes your cancer cells and incubates them in the presence of the drugs the doctors would consider giving you and with some they may not normally consider. The premise is that if in a test tube the presence of the chemo cant kill your cancer cells, at a higher concentration than can be delivered to the patient, then there is little chance that therapy will work in you the patient. The screen is apparently very good at identifying inactive drugs which can save a patient with little time from picking a non-working drug. The contention comes in the ability of the screens to pick effective therapies. I, however, am now a firm believer in this area. My own treatment was directed by the results from my screen. Normal first line taxol cisplatin therapy was inactive in my screen so I avoided that and went instead with the only combination of drugs from the 20 odd therapies tested that did show some tumor cell killing ability. I finished up on a Gemzar, carboplatin, navelbine, high dose Tamoxifen and iressa protocol. After 4 cycles my PET scan is clean, I have no detectable active tumor, and we will not be doing radiation!! My oncologist is stunned and I think is now a convert as to the usefullness of these screens. Whenever I talk to other patients and doctors nobody has ever heard of these tests. A good starting point for information is www.weisenthal.org where I had my tests done Dr Weisenthal has some good background information available on his site. I encourage everyone to at least have a look at this before your next choice of chemo and please fell free to contact me with any questions.