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Joined: Nov 2005

My Dad is starting chemo in a couple of weeks. He will be getting carboplatin and gemzar. I know from reading on the internet that you either get carboplatin or cisplatin (platinum drugs). This seems to be the standard, but the other drug that you take can be one of many kinds. His doctor prescribed Gemzar. Does anyone have any personal experience with Gemzar? What can my Dad expect from this? I am really scared that he will have bad side effects or is that to be expected? Thanks for any replies.

Anonymous user (not verified)

Call the American Cancer Society on their 800 toll free number, they have and will send you a wealth of info, as well, put you in touch with survivors/caregivers who will chat with you. God bless.

Posts: 31
Joined: Nov 2003

I had gemzar. I also had taxotere. Keep in mind that everyone is different, but the taxotere had terrible side effects for me, but the gemzar had very little side effects. The most was fatigue and lack of appetite, but I was also anemic at that time. Comparatively it was great. Good luck.

gdpawel's picture
Posts: 525
Joined: May 2001

Taxol with Carboplatin fails to show clinical advantage over standard regimen in NSCLC, although the costs were five times more. According to a multicentre Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) study 9509, there are no significant differences in survival, response rates or quality of life between standard regimen Navelbine (vinorelbine tartrate) and dose-intense Taxol with Carboplatin treatment arms.

Some other chemotherapy agents that are used to treat NSCLC include Gemcitabine (Gemzar) and Docetaxel (Taxotere). The combination of Gemcitabine plus a platinum (either cisplatin, carboplatin or oxaliplatin) has been the most important drug combination introduced for the treatment of solid tumors in the past fifteen or so years. Clincal responses with this regimen have been unprecedented.

Gefitinib (Iressa) and erlotinib (Tarceva) are new drugs used to treat advanced NSCLC that is resistant to more conventional chemotherapy agents. They are referred to as tyrosine kinase inhibitors. They inhibit the activity of a substance called epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase, which is located on the surface of cells and is needed for growth.

Increasingly, targeted oral-dose anti-cancer drugs like Iressa and Tarceva are found to treat cancers effectively in those that it is helping, and seen as an intergral and necessary part of a patient's cancer care. A number of these breakthrough cancer drugs come only in oral form.

There are many cancer drug regimens, all of which have approximately the same probability of working. The tumors of different patients have different responses to chemotherapy. Tumors grow and spread in different ways and their response to treatment depends on these unique characteristics. The amount of chemotherapy that each patient can tolerate varies considerably from patient to patient.

Therapeutic protocols currently in use are limited in their effectiveness, because they are based on the results of clinical trials conducted on a general population, yet no two patients are alike. Which cancer drugs would be most effective? It would help to test the tumor first. It requires individualized treatment based on testing the individual properties of each patient's cancer.

Assay-directed chemotherapy is an individualized approach to killing cancer. Chemosensitivity testing, a method used to determine what precise medications would kill the particular cancer. Doctors have assumed that stopping cell division would stop cancer, because most cancer cells divide and grow rapidly. but the approach didn't always kill the malignant cells. Cancer isn't a case of cells growing out of control, but of cells refusing to die on schedule.

More and more physicians and patients are turning to individualized therapies to treat cancers. Under this approach, scientists study how an individual's cancerous cells respond to several drugs. Doctors have learned that even when the disease is the same type, different patients' tumors respond differently to chemotherapeutic drugs.

Without individualized testing, it's difficult to determine which drugs are best for patients who don't respond to standard therapies.

Posts: 13
Joined: Aug 2005

Gemzar and Cisplatin combination works best in my mom's lung cancer, at least it shrinks the tumor
a lot, not sure Gemzar alone can do the job

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