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What are the side effects for Folfiri and Erbitux???

Phil64's picture
Posts: 837
Joined: Apr 2012

Well, the Tumor Board reviewed my case and liver resection surgery is not an option at this time.  There are two larger tumors in my liver (3cm and 1.8cm) that are clearly visible on the MRI.  Unfortunately there are also three other likely smaller tumors visible on the MRI as well.  And the five tumors are located in different areas of the liver. There is also a possible tumor on the outside of my colon (where the colon resection was done) as uptake was visible in this location on the PET scan.  Given tumors in all different areas of the liver and given that three of them are smaller and harder to resect, surgery was not given as an option.

So the recommendation was for me to start Folfiri and Erbitux as soon as possible. And the hope is that this chemo will be more effective than the FolFox/Oxilliplatin. And if it shrinks / stops the tumor growth I may be candidate for surgery in the future (at least they may reassess my case).

What are the side effects of Folfiri and Erbitux?


4/21/12 - colonoscopy finds tumor, crc stage III diagnosis

5/11/12 - colon resection, crc stage iV diagnosis

6/1/12 - lung resection surgery

Jun thru Dec 2012 = Folfox and Oxciliplatin Chemo (11 treatments received)

Jan 2013 = CEA rising 10 to 20 to 40...

1/24 = PET and MRI of Liver results discussed


Hooley's picture
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2012

Hi phil friend of mine has had erbitux and folfox after bowel, stomach and liver with lots and large spots.  Has great success. Liver almost cleared too.   I have just commenced erbitux also.  Gotta try shrink 4 lung mets!  Had 2 sessions.  Dry skin, bit cracking but also I have bad leg pain at back of photo buttocks and down legs.  Have to take panadol which helps.  Also get acne which they say is a positive sign things are working.  Here's praying and keeping positive.  All the best.  Sue

PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

I've been on Erbitux and Irinotecan for the better part of 7 years. It's been effective with keeping my lung mets growing slowly. I get annual RFA (ablations) to get rid of them.

OK, the "fun" part... Erbitux often gives a rather nasty rash on the face and torso at first. There's nothing that I found that totally gets rid of it but using fragrance free soaps are a very good idea. The Erbitux can also make your finger tips crack and sometimes there are issues with ones toes. Small growths appear on the side of the nail and can be painful. That can be treated with antibiotics and also by having a podiatrist trim the nail or cauterize the spot.

Depending on how long you're on Erbitux, the rash goes away. I hardly get a rash at all...
I hope this helps

Phil64's picture
Posts: 837
Joined: Apr 2012

Thanks for the feedback! I'm hoping that this drug will be effective in my case as well. And for me its nice to hear from people already working through the side-effects and to have a sense of what I'm in for...


I will be meeting with the doctor on Thursday, before I receive the drug but I was/am curious to learn as much as I can before I go to the doctor...


Is hair loss or thinning another side-effect of this drug?  Not that I have a lot of hair to loose, but I'm wondering.


Thanks again for sharing the experience.

tachilders's picture
Posts: 313
Joined: Jun 2012

The main side effects of irinotecan (the IRI in FOLFIRI) are diarheaa and transient neutropenia (low neutrophil counts).  The body usually adjusts and the neutrophil counts come back up after a few weeks/months.  Hair loss is also mentioned as a common side effect of irinotecan.  Don't know anyhting about Erbitux, as I have a KRAS mutation and Erbitux won't help me.


Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Hey Phil

Irinotecan can be a pretty heavy hitter for some of us....

Some manage it well...others, like myself, did not fare as well...it was hard on me.  I was sick 13-14 days out of every 15-day cycle...so it wasn't any kind of life for me....at all.

But, it was effective...and because it was only 12tx, I stayed with it and made it through.

Hope you do good with it.

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