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Tarceva or not

Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2007

My wife (stage IV adenocarcinoma, several mets) is finishing radiation to the brain this weekend and will have to have made a decision on her follow up Chemo. We've been offered standard carboplatin and gemcitabine, or alimta +/- cisplatin, but also Tarceva. Now, as I understand it, Tarceva is a second line drug, used if the standards don't cut it. Officially, she was given Taxol when originally treated 3 years ago, but was taken off after a nasty reaction a couple minutes into the treatment. It's that exposure that qualifies her for the Tarceva.

Personal experiences with Tarceva? Opinions?

We want to choose the right door.

Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Hello Duckbot,

I don't have any personal experiences with Tarceva, as it is treated as a second-line of therapy after the first line fails. So I will provide you with the clinical information I know or remember.

From what I read of the latest research on lung cancer, better results are obtained from triple combination treatments - whether that be carbo/taxol and Avastin or Tarceva. So I would definitely opt for the triple combo.

As for Tarceva, it doesn't work for everyone - just as the chemo, as well. But you can pinpoint if it does if your wife had her cancer cells tested for the EGFR gene mutation. Those with that mutation have a higher probability of having success with Tarceva. In general, Asian non-smoking women do very well with Tarceva.

However, that doesn't mean those without the EGFR mutation or someone not of the Asian, non-smoking demographic would do poorly with Tarceva. There are people who do well with it, such as enrol. The test for the mutation is more of definable case of Tarceva's effectiveness.

So ask your wife's oncologist if she had the test done when the biopsy was done. Or if the lung cancer cells are still available, get the EGFR test done. That way, you'll be armed with additional information to make that decision.

Good luck to you and your wife.

ernrol's picture
Posts: 91
Joined: Apr 2006

I was given Tarceva from the beginning of my treatment along with Carboplatin and Taxol. I have been cancer free since November 2005. I have been on Tarceva since August 2005. I had stage IV lung cancer, for now I am cancer free. I was told that this would not happen, but they did not know my chief physician I was not a candidate for surgery or radiation. . You can type ernrol in the search box at top of screen, then click on any place you see ernrol to the right of screen. This will take you to my web page. If you would like more info about the things I did let me know, and I can e-mail them.

Hope4Poppi's picture
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2008

My Father has been through two partial lobectomies in the last 3 years. He was in remission...until now. He was just rediagnosed with its' return. ;o( He has BAC (Broncheoavular Carcinoma) (sp?) The Dr's feel given his history and current health that he is a prime candidate for Tarceva. He is scared as he has always been against chemo of any kind. He just got approved for it and is supposed to begin tx Monday...but he is holding reservations... Please help me help him ... is this the right path? Anyone have personal experience with this drug? I am desparate.... Thank you!

Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2007

Now, as I understand it, Tarceva is a second line drug, used if the standards don't cut it.

That's not always the case. For some patients, tarceva is used first, before chemo, because it can "stop the clock" for a year or two. Once its effectiveness wanes, then chemo and other treatments are used.

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