Vitamin E and Tarceva - 1248599

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 07:06

I read some posts on Inspire about Vitamin E. Many people taking Tarceva say they do not take anything containing Vitamin E because it inhibits Tarceva from working.

I would like to know the scientific basis behind this. Whether we should avoid Vitamin E like the plague if we are on Tarceva.

Just and update. My husband isw doing very well on 150 mg Tarceva now. Almost all pains have subsided. We are very happy and thankful to God and all of you on Cancer Grace too who have shared our journey and given us precious feedback when we needed it most.

Thank you and God bless you all.

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Apra, It's so good to hear that your husband is doing so much better! I'm very happy for you both.

From what I've read supplements that are no more that 100% of FDA (sorry but not sure how that corresponds for you. though a google search would work to translate that to supplements found in India) approved amounts are alright but should be taken 12 hours apart. The short answer still seems to be it isn't known so some people avoid them.

My husband's onc tells him to continue to do what he's doing because it's working.

This is a good discussion on the subject,…

All my best to you both,

Dr West

I don't think this question has been well studied. Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant, and there is some very limited research that suggests anti-oxidants like vitamins A, C, and E can antagonize the anti-cancer effects of chemotherapy. Oncologists often suggest trying to be judicious about taking high doses of these vitamins. I'm not aware of any meaningful evidence on vitamin E and EGFR inhibitors and have never heard an oncologist, whether a general oncologist or lung cancer expert, speak to this issue. I've also never heard a pharmacologist address it.

-Dr. West


Thank you Janine for your link, and your good wishes, I will read the link.

I know that I did not make myself clear. I was not asking about supplements but about vitamin E in the daily food that we take. The Inspire folks seemed to think that Vitamin E is to be avoided at all costs. So I wondered whether we needed to check even the foods that we take to see that they do not contain too much vitamin E. My husband is not taking any supplements because we have become wary of supplements after reading posts on the internet.

Bh, Thank you. I am also happy to hear that your mom is now stable. Best hopes for your mom.

Dr. West,

I believe unless we are deficient in some vitamins, It is best not to take any supplements, because I think we may get whatever we need from the food that we are taking.

Thank you for your reply. So I guess we need not fear about the presence of Vitamin E in our diet if it is not a supplement that we are taking.

Regards to all


certain spring

It's just great to hear your husband is responding well to the Tarceva - especially given all the pain he was having. Very good news.


Thank you Certain Spring. For Tarceva, you have the most coveted mutation, exon 19 deletion:)

Unfortunately they made a mess of my husband's biopsy. We underwent bone biopsy as well as cell block on the pleural effusion. We paid heavy bucks for them to sent to Quest diagnostics in the US. But when it reached the US the bone biopsy tissue was useless and they lost the cell block from the pleural effusion. This is the sad case of my husbands attempted biopsy from a reputed research hospital like Rajiv Gandhi in Delhi.

So though we do not know what mutation he is, we have started Tarceva nevertheless and he is responding very well to it. We are so happy for the response otherwise we would have been giving the hospital a lot of trouble after what they have done to us.

How are you? My husband has not experienced any side effects yet though he is on the medicine for about 28 days now. We praise God so much for His grace.


Again, so happy about the good response your husband is having :)
I'm sorry about all the trouble, pain, and expense of trying to get a biopsy that didn't work. Both of those ways are quite iffy to begin with not to say anything about the fact that one didn't make it to it's destination. grrrr

With the exception of grapefruit there are no foods that really need to be avoided when using tarceva. Nutrients you get from eating foods in a normal fashion are considered safe with any treatment for lung cancer.

Dr West

I'm sorry that his tissue analysis wasn't successful -- very frustrating! But the most important thing is that he's doing well on Tarceva, so congratulations on that!

-Dr. West


Janine, thank you. Yes I gather that oth these methods are not reliable, so I guess it's ok. Yes, we are very happy that he is responding well :)

Dr. West,

Yes, it was so frustrating, making us wait and wait and then wham! Telling us sorry, but tissue was not study able! But inspite of everything, as you have rightly pointed out, the important thing is that he is doing well on Tarceva. Anytime the side effcts may start, but we are not anxious about that. Our doctor said side effects are not experienced by everybody, the company may document all the known side effects but that does not mean everybody is going to go through them. That's also very good news. Thanks for your support and encouragement.



laya d.

Yayyyyy Apra!!! Wonderful news!

And by the way, at no point in time has any doctor told my Mom to avoid foods with Vitamin E while on Tarceva - - just grapefruit.