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new lung met - chemo questions

Posts: 708
Joined: May 2004

I had surgery/chemo Feb 2003 and finished July 2003. I just had a thoracotomy and got a lung met removed. I will start chemo (session 2) soon. My onc wants me to use 5-FU & oxyplatin, but not leucovorin. Any thoughts? I'm getting my care at MD Anderson and trust my onc, but I am young, 34 yrs old, and want to attack!!

Appreciate your advice. jana

spongebob's picture
Posts: 2598
Joined: Apr 2003

jana11 -

I'm not in your same situation, so I'll leave it to some of the resident experts to address the mets issue and chemo regime.

I just wanted to say that whatever sort of chemo you and your consultant (aka "doctor") settle upon (one that is MUTUALLY agreeable), you have the best treatment already going - your attitude. Keep it up and slay that dragon.

Best regards

- SpongeBob

jsabol's picture
Posts: 1156
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi Jane,
I keep coming back to my onc with multiple questions each week, which he seems to tolerate pretty well!! I'm on 5FU and leuco. My understanding of leuco is that it is not per se an anti-cancer drug, but eases entry of the 5FU into those nasty cancer cells. I'm not sure if the oxy would take over any of that function, but I would keep asking. Good luck, Judy

Kanort's picture
Posts: 1275
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi Jana,

I am currently on oxaliplatin for Stage 3 colon cancer with no mets. I take oxal. with 5-FU and leuc. so I don't have any answers why they are not using it. I received the same information as Judy that leuc. is not a chemo drug but assists the others in doing their job. Please feel free to ask me any questions about oxal. as I have completed 11 out of 12 treatments. I'm waiting for my white blood cells to cooperate so I can receive my final dose.

Will be thinking and praying for you.


Posts: 4
Joined: Jun 2004

Kay: I am starting that same regimen; what was your experience of the oxaliplatin? Thanks, stiltz1

nanuk's picture
Posts: 1362
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi Jana: I have lung mets, and am presently on a break from the Folfox 6 protocol-( Oxaliplatin plus 5fu plus leucovorin. According to an article
from the ASCO website-(6/03) this regimin produced higher response rates and a "significant delay in tumor progression compared to other therapy, but side effects were more frequent among patients receiving FOLFOX.
It would be interesting to know why your Onc doesn't want to use Leucovorin..maybe something
new has developed? Bud

kangatoo's picture
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Hi Jana.
I was on 5FU/Leucovorin for 6 months--I asked for an explanation for these chemicals and was told the same as the others who have replied here, and that is that leucovorin assists the 5FU(florourocil) to do the job more effectively.
I may stand corrected here but I believe that leucovorin is actually folic acid--I will look it up for you to see if my "chemo" brain has misinformed me.
Our very best--kanga and Jen

kangatoo's picture
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

ooooops--hi Jana--disregard what I just posted--well--some of it.The following is part of an explanation from a drug site.(I said folic acid--I should have said folinic acid)

Leucovorin is the active form of the B complex vitamin, folate.Leucovorin is used as an antidote to drugs that decrease levels of folic acid.Folic acid helps red and white blood cell formulation and the synthesis of hemaglobin.
Some treatments require what is called leucovorin rescue, because the drug used to treat the cancer or other infection has an adverse effect on folic acid levels.
There is much more to it but I won't start to confuse you--the basics are here.
Some side effects related to leucovorin are skin rashes or itching.
Hope this is of some help--maybe your onc has reasons not to give it to you.
cheers -kanga n Jen

Posts: 145
Joined: Mar 2004

hi jana. i have been on folfox since april 2003 with a minor brk from sept 2003 to jan 2004 when bk on agian with lung mets. i am on luc too so i cnt say anything there except that md anderson is supposed to be #1 in cancer treatment. i to am 34 too. the oxcili if you have not been on b4 will cause cold sensitivity, and for 48 hrs you cant have anything cold to drink. i started the avastin in feb when it came out and have no affects from that. ask your dr if you are going to have deacadron(steroid) because it is supposed to inhance the drugs to work better. cant really say how you may react to the drugs since everyone is different. i have bad problems with it but the dr says i am an exception. folfox is standard of care i beleive in this situation. i just hope all goes well and you have minimal side affects. pls let me know if i can be of more help.


Posts: 99
Joined: May 2004

Hi Jana,

I am Stage III with no mets having had surgery (May, 2004) and started Folfox chemo June 2, 2004 - I am heading for my 3rd treatment this Wed.

So far, I have experienced nausea and fatigue, the first we are working on trying to fix with drugs (going to give Marinol a try this week).

I too was under the impression that the leuc. was simply a delivery aid for the 5-FU....definitely ask tons of questions of your onc- he works for and with you to save your life. I go armed with new questions each time I meet with mine.

Keep us posted!


Posts: 708
Joined: May 2004

Thanks to everyone for the information. I was out of town the past week, and will call my onc. tomorrow - scheduled to start chemo on Sunday.

This site is great. I wish each and every one of you all the best - health and happiness. jana

Posts: 708
Joined: May 2004

hello all... I got the scoop. I am going to be taking oxyplatin and Xeloda (the oral form of 5FU that is taken everyday). The studies have shown that when Xeloda is used vs. IV 5FU, Leucovorin only increased side effects without increasing efficacy - it just hurt, didn't help. My onc. said none of his patients that are taking Xeloda take leucovorin with it.

HOWEVER, if you take avastin; you can only use it with the iv form of 5FU. This is because it has only been studied with the iv form and therefore insurances will only pay for it in that form. The oral form will probably work just as well, but it needs to be proven first.

Hope this helps.

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