Topic: Gemzar/Erbitux for cHCC-CC--cross-posted at "Good News/What's Working"
My brother, age 45, was diagnosed at the end of May with combined hepatocellular-cholangiocarcinoma, stage IV with metastasis to the chest cavity (lungs), no history of hepatitis or cirrhosis.
We first tried Xeloda, which proved highly toxic in part due to his very high bilirubin levels (as high as 18 at one point).
The bilirubin has been brought down to <4 with an externally draining biliary catheter.
He's now had two treatments of Gemzar/Erbitux, at a half dose of 500cc with amazing results. Even his oncologist is amazed at how well he's been doing, how well he's looking. He feels great with more energy, increased appetite, and greatly improved bowel movements (the tumor had closed off his bile duct, and I'm sure everyone on this board can understand how important good bm's are!). He's able to drive again, which he hasn't done since early June, on the morning he had the biliary drainage catheter inserted.
His first treatment resulted in an allergic reaction (shortness of breath) which was controlled with a huge wallop of Benadryl. He also had a blood transfusion after the first treatment, but this hasn't needed to be repeated. The second treatment went fine, and he's had little if any nausea or other discomfort.
All of his blood work seems to be moving in the right direction. The alpha-fetoprotein marker, which had been at 4200 before this therapy, dropped to 1900 after the first treatment.
For three months we've been living day by day, now we feel like we can live week by week, and his quality of life is greatly improved. We're hoping now that, at least, the bile duct will open up enough to allow a stint to be inserted in place of the biliary catheter.
He's going to have two more treatments (every two weeks) at an increased dose (probably not a full dose yet), then the doctor wants new scans to see how the mass has been effected.
We're very hopeful for more, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high with such a significant diagnosis.