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Femara / Letrozole in the news
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Femara / Letrozole in the news

There is much talk about Femara today based on studies by the Univ. of Edingurgh in Scotland.  (There it is called by it's generic name Letrozole).

http://www.alanpeto.com/ovarian_cancer/blogs/45

Femara or Letrozole will only work in certain ovarian cancer patients who are oestrogen receptor (ER) sensitive.  The study shows about a 3 year survival time and those who were highly sensitive to oestrogen even had responses.

One of the articles I read said the response rate was in the 20's (I think 26%), which is higher than some chemos.

Of course clinical trials need to be conducted to finalized this initial research.
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12 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Alan:

Thanks for this update. The estimated response rate using hormonal drugs is going up and that's good news. We are getting more amunitions for this disease and closer to finding a cure.

Jatoo
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Avatar_m_tn
I agree!  :)  I think everyone's idea of a cure is for the cancer to be gone forever and the FDA's is 5 year remission...I think we are close to both.

I think megestrol is another one used for appetite but is also hormonal and can be used for ovca (and others).  Then you have Phenoxodil which is an analog of soy isoflavone genistein that chemosensitizes.  They are working on one from DIM (early stages)  (both Genistien and DIM/I3C have been shown by UCLA to halt ovca in it's tracks...well at least in vitro).  Then we have the vaccines coming out in Australia and also out here.

I like your research reports too...it's good to show everyone the different options!

Alan
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Avatar_n_tn
Great article. This confirms what Melody is doing! How do you check for oestrogen? I have a blood test with a ACAM doctor to go over Estradiol, Estrone, Estroil. I guess maybe this is the way to check. My blood test will be with the thyroid and I do it in 3 weeks (had to raise the thyroid just a little). So I'll let everyone know.

Why is it that our oncologists are not checking all these hormones? I will ask my oncologist with my next appointment. And take this article!

Also when you get neupogen, is that a growth hormone? How does that affect our bad estrogen? Maybe not at all but I am curious.
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Avatar_n_tn
I read about this in my UK newspaper this last week.  Apparently they have so far used it with a group of women at advanced stages focussing on stopping or holding up progression but are now going to try it at earlier stages to see if it can prevent recurrence.  I don't understand about the non-testing of estrogen response more as a matter or course either - is it because all of these drugs are still at the trial stages and not out for general use as yet?  There is so much happening with research that I can't keep up with it all and on past experiences so many hopeful things have just disapppeared after initial publicity.  Let's hope there is more substance now in the discoveries.  Jenny
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Helen:

You just have to ask your doctor whether you are estrogen-positive. That is what we did and I think they checked her slides in pathology taken from our surgery.

I also think the studies infer that even if you are not estrogen-positive, Femara or hormonal drugs will still work. The key is that drugs have to put a stop to hormones generating new cancer.

Jatoo
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Alan,

Yes roaches. And I've always called it the invader. I remember awhile ago there was an Atlanta oncologist (in the news a few years ago) that gave his patients pesticides.

Yes, my hospital has the specimen. I was in the process of getting into a clinical trial last March at MD Anderson using hyperthermia, 5FU, and Interferon. I was declined (after I sent them everything). It was the brain. But they should have told me that in the beginning as I was told it was alright.

Hoping and praying your mom is doing good. Your website is great.
Helen
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Avatar_m_tn
m powell, this research was done in Scotland (thus the U.K.).  As far as obtaining it, your oncologist should know a way or they can contact the researchers.
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Avatar_m_tn
Helen, Jatoo is right.  It is so important to make sure if you want your cancer tested from pathology (or better yet saved), the time to do it is prior to surgery...yet many don't know to ask for this.   Typically the hospital (or whomever does their pathology) *should* retain the specimens.  

I have no idea about this company, I just ran across them on the web recently...perhaps they can do it if they can't locally:
http://www.chemosensitivity.com/response_rates.cfm

I agree with Jatoo on the hormonal route...even if if you are not oestrogen receptive, there should still be some effect.  The thing is with OvCa, these little buggers are like roaches, they adapt and adapt....but there is always something that kills them (i.e. stompping your foot on 'em!)...we just have to find that 'combination' that works all the time.

There are also the natural routes, the 'phytoestrogens', like in the article I recently wrote on Genistein.  This is also what Phenoxodiol is based off of.

Alan

------------
Ovarian Cancer Research Website
http://cancer.alanpeto.com/
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Avatar_n_tn
Jatoo,

Yes, they did that automatically at NYU with my brain tumor. It was progesterone-positive. But when they did a biopsy on a lymph node in my breast at NYU it wasn't estrogen or progesterone positive. But I don't think it was ever done with the original surgery at North Shore. Anyway I am interested in the circulating hormones in my body now. (I wish I knew them before I got this cancer) I am sure they were too high in the bad estrogen and too low in progesterone. So much to know. In a few weeks when I see my gyn/onc I'll approach him on the Femara.

Thanks and prayers to Melody,
Helen
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Avatar_n_tn
Can you help?  My mum has just completed chemotherapy for the second time for ovarian cancer.  There is evidence of a tumor still there and she has awful symtoms (symptoms) from chemotherapy.

I have been reading all about Letrozole but understand it won't be available in this country for a no. of years.  I have seen it available in american websites which ask for a prescription. Do you think I can purchase this if I get approval from a GP in Britain?
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks Helen!

OMG...are you serious, pesticides?  The sad part is I believe it!

I saw something on pubmed about 5FU and lentinan (used in Japan) for ovarian cancer ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=2768975&dopt=Abstract ) where it worked.  It's too bad that our FDA won't allow IV lentinan over here (perhaps there is no big money in it, who knows).

Alan
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello there - I think letrozole, which is known commercially as Femara, may well have been approved by NICE for use in breast cancer cases already.  The crucial point is whether NICE will now approve it for ovca now that the Edinburgh team have had some success, given that it has already gone through the clinical trials process.  I'm going to out patients tomorrow in London and intend to ask about this - I'll let you know the outcome.  It's not terribly expensive - well, not compared with other chemo drugs, and I have also been thinking about my GP for the prescription if all else fails.  Jenny
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