Title: Tarceva Again & Again & Again? - 1246317

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Title: Tarceva Again & Again & Again? - 1246317

My mom's been on Avastin every 2 weeks & Zometa every 2-3 months since early 2011. She's been asymptomatic til now - her cough's clearly more & she's feeling like gagging after eating. Scan results yesterday shows a new growth on her abdominal wall though her SUV #'s for her other tumors are lower/same & tumors are growing, but not by much.

Our dr has chosen to do nothing until now, noting she looked great. He recently brought maybe trying Navelbine, then suggested getting ROS-1 testing (though she is EGFR positive), and more recently suggested her go on Tarceva. She's been on it 2x before (14 mos in 2008 successfully, again 2010 unsuccessfully. It is said that there's data showing after a break on Tarceva, there could be a great response to it again. I tried to find this data (here/elsewhere), but wasn't able to find anything like that... but just wondered if that route (or any of those routes) seems reasonable given that the disease is progressing (since august of last year). It takes time to see if the drug works, thus, lost time. Does anyone here have experience going this route or not?

Thanks for any thoughts!

Dr West
Reply To: Title: Tarceva Again & Again & Again?

There are certainly a minority of patients who experience a good response to EGFR inhibitor therapy after developing acquired resistance earlier, and there are far more people who have a minor response or stable disease for a few months. Here's a post I've recently written about this issue:


I hope it's helpful. In someone who has already been on EGFR inhibitor therapy a couple of times, I generally favor switching to a new therapy option if there's one that's appealing. However, if the appealing options are becoming exhausted, it's often possible to wring the last drops of benefit from EGFR TKI therapy by going back to it.

-Dr. West

Dr. Howard (Jack) West
Associate Clinical Professor
Medical Oncology
City of Hope Cancer Center
Duarte, CA

Founder & President
Global Resource for Advancing
Cancer Education