Keytruda Efficacy

Gardena
Gardena Member Posts: 102

Greetings All. I’ve been a member since 2016. I have been on immunology for a year and a half and wanted to share my experience. First, my backstory/ treatment history:

I was diagnosed in Fall of 2015 w stage 3c2 endometrial adenocarcinoma, I had a radical hysterectomy, followed by six rounds of carbo / taxol, followed by 28 external radiation txments. After frontline treatment I was put on Metformin. Started w 500 milligrams per day and worked up to 1500 milligrams per day, where I am currently.

At six month PET scan hyperbolic activity was seen in my clavicle lymph nodes. I had 24 external radiation txtments to one node and surrounding area, accompanied by 4 low dose carboplatin treatments. The radiation shrunk the one node, but soon another node in my neck was swelling and my onco suggested Avastin. I declined and asked if there was any other treatment available to me. My onco retested my tumor (on file) and was then able to offer me Opdivo. It is an immunology drug by Bristol Meyers. My insurance company denied me, which was expected, as it has not be FDA approved for uterine cancers, and Bristol Meyers agreed to provide it for free for one year under their compassionate patient program. I had an infusion of Opdivo every two weeks for one year starting in May 2017. After starting Opdivo my clavicle nodes shrunk and required no further treatment.

After being on Opdivo for six months I had a CT scan and enlarged lymph nodes were found in my left armpit area. Three lymph nodes, that when biopsied, turned out to be my original cancer and not breast cancer. I continued on Opdivo and had eleven rounds of radiation on these nodes.

At this point, it's now May/June 2018... I’m switched over to Keytruda and it’s also time for my six month CT scan. My CT is clear - No evidence of disease. The first time since being diagnosed in 2015. Then January 2019 rolls around and it’s time for another CT scan. At this point, I have been on Keytruda for six months and on immunology for a year and a half. My CT scan was clear once again.

My onco and I discussed staying on Keytruda until June of this year (which will be two years on immunology) if my next six month scan is clear (this will be a PET scan as opposed to CT.) I am nervous about being taken off of Keytruda in June, but also excited. It can always be reintroduced to my system if need be.

Sorry this is so long winded. If you’ve read this far, thank you for listening to my story. I hope I can encourage you all to keep going, be your own advocate, and live your best life. All the best, Gardena

Comments

  • TeddyandBears_Mom
    TeddyandBears_Mom Member Posts: 1,811 Member
    Gardena,

    Gardena,

    Thanks for taking the time to post your update. We can all use great news and this sure sounds like just that!

    I pray that you continue to have results that allow us to dance with you. Congrats!!!!

    Love and Hugs,

    Cindi

  • oldbeauty
    oldbeauty Member Posts: 324 Member
    Thank you, Gardena!

    This is vital and useful information of note for many here, I expect.  As for me, I also have endometrioid adenocarcinoma.  At diagnosis in 2005, I was Stage IC (old system), Grade 2.  My tissue was estrogen and progesterone receptor positive.  Since then, I have recurred two times and we are watching a single pulmonary nodule in my left lung lobe for possible third recurrence.

    May I ask what grade you were staged with at diagnosis?  I have not had occasion to research immunology much so it may be my ignorance showing but I thought Keytruda was for tumors with certain profiles.  And, I did not think the "garden variety" endometrioid adenocarcinoma type of UC was an approved target for Keytruda.  So, if you'd care to share a bit more info about the justification for the switch over to Keytruda, I'd very much be interested.  Thanks for your consideration.  Best wishes, Oldbeauty

  • Donna Faye
    Donna Faye Member Posts: 427 Member
    This we like to hear!

    It is always a lift to read good reports. Happy for you and gives us information we need. Keep it up!!!

  • Gardena
    Gardena Member Posts: 102
    oldbeauty said:

    Thank you, Gardena!

    This is vital and useful information of note for many here, I expect.  As for me, I also have endometrioid adenocarcinoma.  At diagnosis in 2005, I was Stage IC (old system), Grade 2.  My tissue was estrogen and progesterone receptor positive.  Since then, I have recurred two times and we are watching a single pulmonary nodule in my left lung lobe for possible third recurrence.

    May I ask what grade you were staged with at diagnosis?  I have not had occasion to research immunology much so it may be my ignorance showing but I thought Keytruda was for tumors with certain profiles.  And, I did not think the "garden variety" endometrioid adenocarcinoma type of UC was an approved target for Keytruda.  So, if you'd care to share a bit more info about the justification for the switch over to Keytruda, I'd very much be interested.  Thanks for your consideration.  Best wishes, Oldbeauty

    OldBeauty, I was diagnoused

    OldBeauty, I was diagnoused as 3c 2. I was switched from Opdivo because Bristol Meyers no longer offered me the compassionate patient  program and my insurance company would not cover the very high cost per dose. It happened right around the time the FDA approved Keytruda for use w cancers that have particular mutations, of which my uterine cancer did/does. Wikipedia has a good explanation of Keytruda, how it works and what it targets.

    Basically, Opdivo and Keytruda are the same drug type, created by different companies. Equate it to aspirin, many companies make it and   sell it under their own label. So switching me to Keytruda was the logical choice if I wanted to stay on immunology, as my insurance would cover the cost.

    I hope that answers your questions.

    Gardena

  • ConnieSW
    ConnieSW Member Posts: 1,626 Member
    Gardena, thank you

    for sharing your experience. The gift of hope is a treasure. 

  • derMaus
    derMaus Member Posts: 558 Member
    Gardena said:

    OldBeauty, I was diagnoused

    OldBeauty, I was diagnoused as 3c 2. I was switched from Opdivo because Bristol Meyers no longer offered me the compassionate patient  program and my insurance company would not cover the very high cost per dose. It happened right around the time the FDA approved Keytruda for use w cancers that have particular mutations, of which my uterine cancer did/does. Wikipedia has a good explanation of Keytruda, how it works and what it targets.

    Basically, Opdivo and Keytruda are the same drug type, created by different companies. Equate it to aspirin, many companies make it and   sell it under their own label. So switching me to Keytruda was the logical choice if I wanted to stay on immunology, as my insurance would cover the cost.

    I hope that answers your questions.

    Gardena

    Gardena, your story is

    Gardena, your story is informative, and inspiring. Might you cut-and-paste some of it to your "About Me" page? It would be so helpful for others who are in your same situation to see someone who's faced challenges and overcome them. Thank you for your consideration. B

  • cmb
    cmb Member Posts: 974 Member
    Thanks for the update

    As I also have the genetic mutation that could benefit from Keytruda should my cancer recur, I was very interested to read about your experience. Thanks for sharing.

  • Little Annie
    Little Annie Member Posts: 28
    Thank you Gardena

    I love to read stories like this.

     

  • oldbeauty
    oldbeauty Member Posts: 324 Member
    cmb said:

    Thanks for the update

    As I also have the genetic mutation that could benefit from Keytruda should my cancer recur, I was very interested to read about your experience. Thanks for sharing.

    What is the genetic mutation?

    Can you point me to the source for this info?  I am in watch/wait for a small lung nodule.  If it grows I want to harvest tissue for analysis.  What tests discover the key to Keytruda/Opdivo??  Thanks for any insight.  Best wishes. Oldbeauty

  • Kaleena
    Kaleena Member Posts: 2,083 Member
    Terrific!

    Gardena, that is good to hear.   Thanks for sharing your story.

    Hugs!

    Kathy

  • cmb
    cmb Member Posts: 974 Member
    edited February 2019 #12
    oldbeauty said:

    What is the genetic mutation?

    Can you point me to the source for this info?  I am in watch/wait for a small lung nodule.  If it grows I want to harvest tissue for analysis.  What tests discover the key to Keytruda/Opdivo??  Thanks for any insight.  Best wishes. Oldbeauty

    Lynch Syndrome

    oldbeauty,

    My tumor was tested after surgery and the pathology indicated that I may have Lynch Syndrome, a genetic mutation. This was later confirmed with additional genetic testing. Lynch Syndrome predisposes a person to different types of cancer.

    In the past, knowing one had Lynch could be used to take a more proactive approach to preventative testing, but didn't change treatment protocols.

    But about 6 months after I was diagnosed, the FDA approved the use of Keytruda for patients with cancers that have recurred after initial treatment, if the patient has a kind of cancer that is shown by a laboratory test to be a microsatellite instability-high (MSI‑H) or a mismatch repair deficient (dMMR) solid tumor. Lynch Syndrome causes microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H), making me and others with Lynch Syndrome possible candidates for immunotherapy.

    See https://www.keytruda.com/msi-h/ for more information.

  • oldbeauty
    oldbeauty Member Posts: 324 Member
    edited February 2019 #13
    cmb said:

    Lynch Syndrome

    oldbeauty,

    My tumor was tested after surgery and the pathology indicated that I may have Lynch Syndrome, a genetic mutation. This was later confirmed with additional genetic testing. Lynch Syndrome predisposes a person to different types of cancer.

    In the past, knowing one had Lynch could be used to take a more proactive approach to preventative testing, but didn't change treatment protocols.

    But about 6 months after I was diagnosed, the FDA approved the use of Keytruda for patients with cancers that have recurred after initial treatment, if the patient has a kind of cancer that is shown by a laboratory test to be a microsatellite instability-high (MSI‑H) or a mismatch repair deficient (dMMR) solid tumor. Lynch Syndrome causes microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H), making me and others with Lynch Syndrome possible candidates for immunotherapy.

    See https://www.keytruda.com/msi-h/ for more information.

    Thanks

    OK.  Those I've heard of...the mismatch repair deficiency and Lynch and MSI-H.  I will make a note and retain this time.  Thanks again, cmb.  You are awesome.  Best wishes, Oldbeauty

  • evolo58
    evolo58 Member Posts: 293 Member
    I am so, so glad

    To read the Keytruda is helping you. Congrats!