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December 15, 2017 at 12:04 am  #1293637    


Good morning, I was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2012 had a removal of top left lobe of lung was stage 1A. 15 months later I was diagnosed with stage 4 adencarcinoma it had spread to both lungs lymph nodes and ribs. Started Tarceva 150 mg slight progression on a rib in 2014 which was treated successfully with radiation then continued on Tarceva to this day. Dosage is 100 mg due to side effects but I have been blessed with this treatment of Tarceva. But I was wondering do any of you actually get to completely stop Tarceva because sometimes I wonder if maybe I don’t even need to take Tarceva! Would appreciate any comment especially from the medical field. Kind regards Ellie

December 15, 2017 at 4:05 pm  #1293640    
JimC Forum Moderator
JimC Forum Moderator

Hi Ellie,

Welcome to GRACE, and congratulations on your great response to Tarceva. If your current scans show remaining evidence of lung cancer but it is stable, then the strong assumption is that Tarceva is keeping your cancer under control and you would want to continue it. On the other hand, if your scans show no evidence of disease (“NED”), there is no way to know whether your treatments have completely eliminated all traces of lung cancer from your body, or Tarceva has it under such good control that it doesn’t appear on scans. If a liquid biopsy is performed and it reveals cancer cells, then it would seem that continued treatment is necessary. If the biopsy is negative, that doesn’t necessarily mean there are no remaining cancer cells, since such biopsies can deliver false negative results.

Unfortunately, the only certain way to find out is to stop Tarceva and have follow-up scans to check for disease progression. I know that’s not an ideal choice, but at present we don’t have anything better. Perhaps you can discuss the possibility of a liquid biopsy, then make a decision based on the results.

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Jul 2008 Wife Liz (51/never smoker) Dx Stage IV NSCLC EGFR exon 19
4 cycles Carbo/alimta, 65% shrinkage
Tarceva maintenance
Mar 2010 progression, added Alimta, stable
Sep 2010 multiple brain mets, WBR
Oct 2010 large pericardial effusion, tamponade
Jan 2011 progression, start abraxane
Jun 2011-New liver, brain mets, add Tarceva
Oct 2011-Dx Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis; pulsed Tarceva
At rest Nov 4 2011
Since then: http://cancergrace.org/blog/jim-and-lisa

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