My Personal Cancer Journey — Significant New Developments

I have suspended “Where in the World is Gary” for a day to bring readers up-to-date regarding several significant new developments in my personal cancer journey. My last CT Scan and PET Scan (early July) revealed that one of the tumors in my lung has grown significantly since April (2.0 cm to 2.5 cm). ┬áBased on this finding, we are fairly certain that the new pill, which replaced the Tarceva at the end of May, is not working particularly well. And, while other cancer tumors remain quiescent, my doctor felt that we should look at other options.

When we discussed available treatments, we eventually decided that the least traumatic option was to enroll (if possible) in a trial being conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital which looks promising for people like me. The trial is limited to individuals who have the EGFR mutation (the lucky happenstance in my situation which allowed me to take Tarceva instead of chemotherapy). If you recall, only 15% of the population (only 10% of males) have this mutation so I was incredibly fortunate in this regard.

At any rate, researchers have discovered that in most individuals with this mutation, over time, their cancers evolve a resistance to the drugs which target EGFR and begin to grow again. These people tend to develop a new mutation, called T790M. Dr Sequist, at Mass General, believes that I am likely to have this new mutation (about 70% of EGFR mutants develop T790M), which would qualify me to participate in this study. The study is testing a new drug, CO-1686, which shows great promise in controlling cancer with the T790M mutation.

Unfortunately, before I am fully accepted into the study I must have another biopsy to determine if, in fact, my active tumor cancer cells have the T790M mutation. I saw Dr Sequist yesterday; her team will be notifying me shortly of the date for my biopsy. After the results are analyzed (perhaps a week or two) I can begin to participate in the study (the trial is actually in Phase 2, since Phase 1 showed great promise).

From time to time, I will post new news regarding this potentially significant new development. Thanks for continuing to monitor my progress on this personal cancer journey.

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