Erlotinib (Tarceva)

Does anyone know how long this drug continues to be effective? My Mum has stage IV adenocarcinoma, visible in both lungs, lymph nodes and spread to bones (deposits on spine). Scans show hasn't spread any further yet. Diagnosed Aug 2010, been on Erlotinib since April 2011 following 4 chemotherapy treatments.
Thanks

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My mom also has done excellent on Tarceva for more than 5 years. Diagnosed as Stage IV nsclc and given about 6-12 months to live. She started with Taxol and Avastin in 2007 but then soon switched to Tarceva. No radiation. No surgery. She is doing fine. The cancer shrunk from esophagus, chest cavity, and one lung but initial lung has some evidence. I don't know about the mutations. But Tarceva seems to still be working. She is very active, has some side effects, but lives a very full life. She was not a smoker and I don't know if that matters. But don't give up. We are connecting with many long term Tarceva survivors.

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Hi all again,

I don't know if the prognosis I posted earlier was for overall survival or until Tarceva mutated. I see a Thoracic Oncologist at MD Anderson-Houston and they see alot of people so my guess would be "average overal "survival but I will ask him when I go for my CT scan at the end of next month. My Onc. has also been at MD Anderson many years so I feel he is really up to date with this.

Susan :)

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Mom was diagnosed with NSCLC (exon 19 deletion of EGFR) on December 2012, and has been on Tarceva since January 2013. She had her first CT scan 4/10/13, primary tumor shrunk from 4cm x 5cm to .6cm x .3 cm and pleural effusion has also decreased significantly. After reading all the postings here, I am even more hopeful that Mom will continue to do well. Can't wait to share this information with her! Thanks everyone. I felt so alone in dealing with this before, but am so thankful I found this support group. Please keep sharing.

Sue

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I have been taking for 6 years, 1 month, and 8 days for stage 4 adeno carcinoma. SMILE

I see they have had some success with treating squamous cells too, so maybe is keeping my throat cancer in control too. SMILE AGAIN

Hmmm, I wonder if it helped my prostate cancer too?

Life is soooo good.

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tnx4asking,
Your too much but Yah gotta love your attitude!
Susan :)

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The factors involved in considering effectiveness of Tarceva involve multiple factors and depend on exactly what can happen with Tarceva at given points of treatment. Ideally, we all want a pronounced effect of cancer suppression to point of "no evidence of disease" (NED) with tarceva only. Yet even if this is not achieved or if there is progression of the cancer after what appears to be full suppression, the Tarceva can remain very much an effective tool - though it often will take other interventions at this point. If the patient has oligometastatic disease (disease later appears at up to 6-8 spots after period of NED or clear suppression), then removal of those spots may allow continued success with Tarceva alone - and according to studies this can be for 6-12 months on average - and again this is without adding another treatment. If this practice of oligometastatic disease removal becomes a common successful practice, the monotherapy efficacy and overall survival statistics may improve.

The other factor in evaluating if Tarceva is still working is to consider how many places the drug may prevent the disease from recurring or spreading. That is unfortunately not a measurable number - who can know where the disease would have ended up without use/continued use of Tarceva. Likewise, the concept of disease "flare" after stopping Tarceva or another EGFR inhibitor (or for that matter, another targeted therapy) makes a strong case for careful decision-making in discontinuing the drug, because - simply - the flare is a strong possibility after the stoppage. The Tarceva is helping to some degree but needs the addition of other treatment to stabilize or remit the cancer - which may include chemo such as Alimta or an additional agent (most all are in research) such as AUY922, xl-184, MK-2206 among others. Even with another agent, the Tarceva can push the duration of treatment effectiveness as it is continued. I know that a number of patients are on Tarceva and Alimta and that combination is waging a good battle against the cancer. It truly seems that there is a good bit of research being done to explore ways to maximize the quality and length of treatment with Tarceva.

So, the question about how long is Tarceva typically needs to be answered in terms of the initial response as well as where things are the time of discussion (and hopefully more sophistication as to receptor and mutation types which can be addressed to give the duration of response a longer push).

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Correction on my last paragraph - this should have read, "So, the question about how long long is Tarceva typically EFFECTIVE needs to be answered in terms of addressing both the initial response, and if there is later progression (after clear efficacy) can Tarceva still be playing a therapeutic role?

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Texandave,
From one Texan to another........thanks for the "wealth of information" but I choose not to "over think" it and NO, I'm not in denial. When the Tarceva mutates, a decision between you and your doctor id made but until that time, I choose to live and be grateful for every day, one day at a time......
Smell the flowers once in awhile.......you will be more relaxrd.
Susan :)

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Susan, there are number of good reasons for your approach. Enjoy life... immensely.

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Texandave,

Oh, believe me I do!!!!!! I hope you do too, is what I was also saying to you in my post to you after the long (and useful info re:Tarceva).
Have a great rest of the week......
Susan :)

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greetings all! i have been on tarceva (egfr mutation) for 19 months with a diag of stage IV adenocarcinoma with mets to brain, ribs and spine. the tarceva rash is practically non-existent although my skin burns and tingles; eye lashes grow super long; hair on head grows extremely slowly; no hair left on legs and practically none on arms; sporadic diarrhea, nausea and neuropathy. since my diag i have lost 25 pounds ( i needed to anyway); i have retired from 30 years of public service (i'm 54 now); i'm very active in my extensive perrenial garden; i volunteer as a hospital chaplain - often with hospice and recently diag'd cancer patients; i'm very active with my spiritual community (3rd order st francis secular); i participate in a 2x per month advanced cancer support group; and i focus on living joyfully and purposefully every day! i give all thanks and praise to God! may the Divine Mercy embrace all of you! pax et bonum - br. arturo

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I am glad to read such wonderful news. I have been on tarceva for 7 month. cells has decreased 40% Cancer in both lungs only. I am so grateful for the quality time since been on tarceva. first dx 2004.

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My husband is on Tarceva .lung non small .had 2 radiation treatments last one 6weeks ago has been on Tarceva for 2mths extreme fatigue nausea stops him from doing anything except to shower and water the garden then that's it for the rest of the day any comments suggestions .
This is my first time on this website,which is very helpful and appreciated sorry if I posted in the wrong place

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