Well, yesterday I was at the cancer center to start my new treatment. This is the second “line of treatment” for me. As I’ve mentioned before, there is no cure for MBC; there are a number of treatment options, or lines. The goal is to stay on each line of treatment as long as possible.
My first line of treatment was one month shy of 3 years. (Personally I was hoping for at least 5 years!)
My second line of treatment includes a clinical trial. I recently put together a web page about Clinical trials. You can view it here: Treatments & (Clinical) Trials. I don’t have it linked anywhere yet on this blog and will soon.
I have the type of breast cancer that grows in response to estrogen (estrogen receptor+/progesterone receptor+: ER/PR+). So, we try to eliminate the estrogen as much as possible. I was taking an Aromatase Inhibitor (AI) (Anastrazole), however, that seems to not be working any longer.
A standard second line of treatment is Fulvestrant (aka Flaslodex) which is a “SERD” Selective Estrogen Receptor Degrader.
A SERD blocks estrogen in a different way than an AI. Fulvestrant (a SERD) blocks the effects of estrogen on hormone ER/PR+ breast cancer cells by sitting in the estrogen receptors on the cells. If Fluvestrant is in the receptor, estrogen can’t attach to the cancer cell and the cell doesn’t receive estrogen’s signals to grow and multiply. It also changes the shape of the estrogen receptors so they don’t work as well. (breastcancer.org)
Fluvestrant is given by injection into a muscle – the back of my hip (literally a pain in my ass!). I will get 2 shots monthly.
I’m also doing the postMONARCH clinical trial. In addition to the monthly injection of Fluvestrant I am taking an oral medication twice a day. I don’t know if I am getting medication (Verzenio, a CDK 4/6 inhibitor) or a placebo. A clinical trial includes a lot of documentation and paperwork! More on that later.
The study is trying to determine if adding Verzenio to Fluvestrant gives better results: longer progression-free survival (PFS). They are probably going to look at overall survival (OS) as well.
We are leaving for vacation in 2 days. We are all crossing our fingers that I don’t have any significant side-effects or adverse reactions. Hawaii here we come!
Second line of treatment: Fluvestrant shots and clinical trial (Verzenio or Placebo, oral), Zometa infusion, Lupron shots