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Gleevec Pill? (sorry for the length of this post)

Posts: 7
Joined: Jan 2012

My mom was diagnosed in January with early Stage 4 NSC Lung Cancer (small mass on her right lung, larger masses in some lymph nodes, and a tiny spot on the liver). Set out on 18 week (2 weeks on, 1 week off) cycle on Gemzar & Carboplatin. 1/2 way through 18 week cycle, took a scan and things had improved....small lung spot remained relatively unchanged, lymph masses reduced in size, and small spot on liver had grown slightly.

During the 2nd half of her treatment, they had to back down on meds due to issues with blood levels and a stay in the hospital. This resulted in unfavorable results after the final scan (once the cycle was completed). Small spot on lung had grown slightly, lymph masses had once again grown, and now the spot on the liver is roughly the size of a ping pong ball.

Sooooo, the doc biopsy'd the spot on the liver due to its dramatic growth over the past 12 weeks(come to find out, he was concerned about chances she had multiple types of cancer). Biopsy came back inconclusive as to the exact type of cancer on the liver, but they were able to find CD117 inside the liver tumor, they ruled out this being a Germ Cell Tumor, so they generally ruled this as an "Undifferentiated Malignancy". Based upon these facts, the doctor (although he didn't seem pleased that they were not able to determine the exact type of cancer) has determined the best course of action is putting mom on Gleevec 400Mg 1X per day. So far, she has taken this for 3 or 4 days and is tolerating it pretty well, although she's having some nausea with the pill but she is taking her anti-nausea.

I have a few questions.....
1) anyone have experience/input about Gleevec.
2) Based upon what I've outlined above, does anyone have any feedback about what the heck is going on (in Lehman's terms)? As I've posted in this forum before, my mom has a great support group, but we are all learning this as we go...never have gone through Chemo with any close family member in the past.

Thanks again everyone!
Take care,

Posts: 844
Joined: Mar 2011

This info is kind of old but the info is pretty good and accurate. The author missed his calling, he knows more than some docs. Anyhow gleevec is the brand name for STI571, or Imatinib from Novartis Pharmaceutical Inc. It is one of the first targeted therapies for the efgr mutation. Hope these help.



Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2012

This drug is specific for Gastrointestinal Spindle Cell Tumor (G.I.S.T.) and it seems your mom doesn't have any tumor in the GI system. I have a friend with GIST being treated with Gleevec. It reduced her rectal tumor dramatically so it could be surgically removed. It is very expensive and many incurances don't fully cover it. I am so sorry for you and your mom and her family as it seems the mystery is not solved.

Posts: 844
Joined: Mar 2011

Went back and reviewed the article that discussed the synergistic effect gleevec has with cisplatin and realize it is dated 2002. Sorry, that is a long time ago in the world of lung cancer meds. So, I went to the nih website and this is what I found:


Why is this medication prescribed?

Imatinib is used to treat certain types of leukemia (cancer that begins in the white blood cells) and other cancers of the blood cells. Imatinib is also used to treat gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST; a type of tumor that grows in the walls of the digestive passages and may spread to other parts of the body). Imatinib is also used to treat dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (a tumor that forms under the top layer of skin) when the tumor cannot be removed surgically, has spread to other parts of the body, or has come back after surgery. Imatinib is in a class of medications called protein-tyrosine kinase inhibitors. It works by blocking the action of the abnormal protein that signals cancer cells to multiply. This helps stop the spread of cancer cells.

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