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elevated liver enzymes

Posts: 14
Joined: Mar 2005

I've had one treatment, FOLFOX plus Avastin and Panitumumab (a clinical study drug). My ALT was 256 this week, which is 500% above normal (stage 3). Has anyone else encountered this? It was elevated before chemo (150+/-), but now it's going higher. My onc is scratching his head. An MRI showed no spread of the cancer to my liver. I was diagnosed stage 3c in March of this year. Help!

PS - I've started a blog to journal my journey. Let me know what you think:


Posts: 719
Joined: Feb 2005

Hi Brian,

My liver enzymes rose during chemo - but not aftr the first session. I was only on FOLFOX - and my body reacted at sessions eight and nine; my chemo had to be stopped. I'm very glad that your doc is so concerned and I am sure that he will figure out what is going on.

How are you feeling? I could tell something odd was happening...I was feeling worse and worse; it made a lot of sense to see the numbers go up. At least I knew I could trust my intuition and what was going on in my body. Take care and I hope that your doc is able to get to the bottom of this. Please keep us posted.


Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi Brian,
I'm afraid I don't have anything useful to share on the elevated liver counts. I wish you the best with that.

But I wanted to say I checked out your blog -- I love it. It made me laugh and cry -- and brought me very vivid memories and "me too" reactions. I am sure the blog is a wonderful way for your friends and family to keep up with you -- but it reached out to me, too.

I've just finished my first treatment of FOLFOX (only) -- and am off to a rocky start myself (blew one vein already, and hospitalized for stomach cramps/blockage - ok now). But I am determined to continue -- or at least give it my damnedest. Only 11 to go!

All the best, Tara

HisJoy's picture
Posts: 115
Joined: Feb 2005

I am receiving FOLFOX with Avastin for stage 3C colon cancer. My liver enzymes are also sky-high - over 700 this last week. Results this high are generally indicative of swelling in the liver. but can also be caused by some medications. My oncologist has pushed my chemo to every three weeks, rather than every two, in order to give the liver some time to heal up before the next treatment. I was diagnosed with NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis) back in 1995 and my most recent liver biopsy in Jan. indicated fibrosis with some necrosis of the liver, and so my enzymes tend to be high anyway. Have you ever been diagnosed with fatty liver disease? That sends the enzymes up, as well.

scouty's picture
Posts: 1976
Joined: Apr 2004

Hi Brian,

I am stage IV (I had never heard of stage V until I read your blog, not sure what that is). I did Folfox w/ Avastin but not the other one for 8 months. I have 2 tumors in my liver but never really had problems with my liver counts that I was aware of.

I am a neighbor, I live off Rock Creek Dairy Rd. between Greensboro and Burlington. I go to UNC School Of Medicine for my medical support and we also have Aspaysia here on the board too. She is from Durham and goes to Duke for her medical support.

I worked with a Brian Stoll at AT&T 10 years ago, but your picture does not look like I remember him. He had just graduated from NC State so I am guessing he is in his early 30's now. I don't think you are him, but thank you for making me think of that fine, fine young man.

I would strongly recommend doing some dietary things to help your liver out. Beet and carrot juice is good for it. That is what I do for mine and so far I have had good success with it. Coffee enemas are also good (no I am not crazy). The caffeine dilates the bile ducts and if you are drinking loads of water, you liver can cleanse itself better. There are other natural liver flushes too if you are interested.

Feel free to ask me any questions neighbor!!!!

Lisa P.

aspaysia's picture
Posts: 257
Joined: Nov 2003

Brian made me curious about my ALT levels during chemo two years ago. Mine went down to 20 -- now up to 40 as of last month. The docs were more worried about my platelets --down to 61 at one point which delayed chemo. It must be 100 before they will allow treatment. No, my memory is not full of these figures. I just keep everything.
Checked out The Journey blog. What a cool idea. Maybe I should do one. Wish I had known about such things when I was going through it. Brian, your family is very dashing, including the pugs.
It's probably better to stay in GB instead of commuting to Duke especially since they offered the same protocol. And you don't have to put up with those Big Shot Docs who think they are in a movie about working in one of the top medical centres in the US.
Your nabor, Aspaysia

ron50's picture
Posts: 1598
Joined: Nov 2001

Hi Brian,
I had elevated liver functions during chemo. They continued after chemo and my gp put it down as just one of those things that happens as a result of chemo. It wasn't until six years later when I developed acute Pancreatitis that my surgeon decided to remove my gallbladder,it was full of small black stones . Since then my liver functions have returned to normal,
I asked the surgeon if the gall problem was as a result of chemo. He didn't know ,so I asked if they knew what long term side effects reulted from the chemo I was on. He didn't know firstly because there are not that greater numbers of long term survivors(10 yr plus)involved to give accurate data especially considering that rarely are two patients on the same doses and mixes of chem and radiation, And secondly he believes it doesn't really matter because if researchers find drugs that kill cancer and don't kill the patient in the process they are obliged to use them and worry about the side effects later. Good luck with your treatment I was st3 with 6 bad nodes and I've just clocked up seven and a half years disease free,Cheers Ron.

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