Topic: Gemzar/Erbitux for cHCC-CC

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.

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.

Re: Gemzar/Erbitux for cHCC-CC

Sear Malawijau, welcome to our wonderful family but sorry you had to join us.
It sounds as if your brother has a great doctor and his reaction to the 2nd chemo cocktail is fabulous! Great news. We can never be too hopeful as attitude plays such an important part for everyone. I like to say that we try to stay realistically optimistic. Please stay in touch with us now that you have joined and we always look forward to good news like this. Sending my best to you and your brother!

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: Gemzar/Erbitux for cHCC-CC

Hello Malawijau...a warm welcome from me also.  It is difficult to accept the diagnoses of this cancer but along the we become strong fighters.   Your brother is responding favorably to his treatment and there is good reason to believe that his tumor is shrinking.   I believe that it is very important to learn as much as possible about this disease by educating yourself, which in turn will allow you to become a strong advocate for your brother.   Education will empower you to aid in the decision making.  In addition to other, reputable,  sources you might want to peruse this site.  We try to stay up to date with all information pertaining to this cancer and we are the largest support group available to all.  Please, do not hesitate from asking questions because, everyone on this site will gladly share thoughts with you.
Hang in there, stay positive and optimistic coupled with a good dose of realism.  Celebrate the good.  It will lend you the strength when, and if so needed.
All my best wishes,