Metastatic Cancer.


Crunchy on the outside; chewey on the inside

image credit: Good Search

Before getting into the post—what’s worse, a camel biting your head off, or your sister laughing at your plight? This picture reminds me that fretting about cancer is rather silly. I mean, now I’m lookin’ over my shoulder for camels in the office on Wednesdays! Heads up!

The appointment after I received the negative biopsy results, I got the bone density scan and blood test results. The bone density scan came back showing lower levels of bone density—and the blood test came back showing elevated calcium levels. Those are two contradicting results, and neither is a result you want to hear.

Those opposing results led my oncologist to order a bone scan, which showed a dark mass at my sacrum. To be sure it wasn’t a hairline fracture, I had some x-rays. Good news, no hairline fracture. My bones are in great shape. So, the next step was a bone biopsy.

The following week, it was a matter of listening the “It’s cancer” all over again. The options, the statistics—the whirling noise in my head, searching for answers, and a way out of this situation.

My doctor hoped I was a candidate for two trial studies. I wasn’t accepted. The first one would require chemo right off the bat. Patients who’d had prior chemo, and experienced neuropathy, weren’t eligible to participate in this study. That was me. The second study didn’t accept me because they were looking for patients who’d been on a medication that hadn’t worked. (We soon learned “a” meant “one” medication. I’d been on two that hadn’t worked.)

There is a third study I did qualify to participate in. I’ve declined to take part. For me, the side effects, the odds, and the requirements of participants weren’t a trial, but a sentence. (Can you tell I was called for jury duty recently?)

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TKI1258, BKM120, trial studies for metastatic breast cancer


There are two studies currently looking for participants. If you are a woman with metastatic breast cancer, and your oncologist hasn’t mentioned the studies to you, bring it up with them. I know the studies are being done nationwide right now (fall 2013). I was expected to begin pre-trial base-line markers this month, but I am not in the studies, after all. More in next blog about that, but I wanted to get this information out to those interested.

One study, TKI1258 (TKI) is a multi-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled, phase II trial. It’s being evaluated for the safety and efficacy of TKI in combination with fulvestrant – also known as Faslodex (a shot). The trial will be of post-menopausal women with Her2, and HR+ breast cancer that have evidence of disease progression on or after [one] prior endocrine therapy.

The other trial study, BKM120, is a phase III randomized, double-blind placebo controlled study with BKM120 with fulvestrant. The participants will be post-menopausal women with hormone receptor positive or Her2-negative, locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer which progressed on or after aromatase inhibitor treatment.

There is expected to be 150 TKI and 1,060 BKM participants in the multi-center studies in the USA. Both studies are by the pharmaceutical company Novartis. The hospital where I go was looking for five patients for each study. If you’re interested in the study, look into it. It may take them a while to find matches.

Talk with your oncologist. Good luck!