Cancer Sucks Update #9

Last Chemo Treatment!

For now…Cross your fingers for a long remission!


Since March I’ve had three more chemo treatments, including what we’re hoping will be my LAST CHEMO TREATMENT this past Tuesday! (April 23) Oh, I rang the heck out of that chemo bell, baby, and it felt great. This little cootie adventure started out with some pretty ugly survival chances, hovering around the 14% range, so this might be the last chemo for now, but either way, it’s the last one for some time! I had some of my best chemo supporters there with me to make it even more special, including my chemo battle buddy, Lorraine, who had her last treatment on April 2nd and is so far receiving incredible results.

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Soon I’ll have a scan and the results to go with it. Until then, we’re trying to get my genetic testing completed, which is apparently hard to do when your white blood cell counts are as strikingly low as mine. We are hoping the third time is a charm, because without these results I can’t get the treatment that would be best for someone like me who has the BRCA gene mutation.

BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) gene mutations. Everyone has BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Some people have an inherited mutation in one or both of these genes that increases the risk of breast cancer.BRCA1/2 mutations can be passed to you from either parent and can affect the risk of cancers in both women and men.

Until the genetic testing proves I have the mutation, I have continued infusion treatments every three weeks for chemo maintenance. But once they definitively prove the BRCA mutation in my genetics, I’ll be moved over to a parp inhibitor, which is a x2 a day pill treatment that my medical team described as “a treatment plan with significantly higher survival rates”. So, you can see my urgency to get moved to this other treatment…

FDA Approves a New PARP Inhibitor for BRCA-mutant Breast Cancer

In the midst of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the US. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provided good news for the breast cancer community this week when it approved a new breast cancer therapeutic called talazoparib (Talzenna), which targets ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) proteins. They also approved a test to identify those patients eligible to receive talazoparib: patients with metastatic or locally advanced, HER2-negative breast cancer who have an inherited, cancer-associated BRCA1 or BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) mutation.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. Image courtesy of the National Cancer Institute/Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University.

As discussed in a previous post on this blog, inherited BRCA1/2 mutations account for between 5 percent and 10 percent of breast cancer cases diagnosed in U.S. women. They also account for a similar proportion of ovarian cancer cases.

The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes produce proteins that act as tumor suppressor proteins. One function of these proteins is to repair damaged DNA through a process called homologous recombination. The BRCA1/2 mutations that are associated with cancer cause the production of altered BRCA1/2 proteins or prevent any BRCA1/2 proteins being made by the mutated gene. As a result, the cells are deficient in homologous recombination, which leads to the accumulation of genetic mutations and, sometimes, cancer.

Research has shown that cells with a cancer-associated BRCA1/2 mutation often repair DNA using a cellular pathway called the base excision repair pathway. It has also shown that PARP proteins are important components of this DNA repair pathway and that blocking PARP protein function can cause cells with cancer-associated BRCA1/2 mutations to die.

This research has led to the clinical development and FDA approval of several PARP inhibitors as a treatment for patients with cancers harboring inherited BRCA1/2 mutations. Before the approval of talazoparib, three PARP inhibitors had been approved for treating certain women with an inherited BRCA1/2 mutation who have ovarian cancer—olaparib (Lynparza), rucaparib (Rubraca), and niraparib (Zejula). Olaparib had also been approved for treating certain patients with an inherited BRCA1/2 mutation who have metastatic HER2-negative breast cancer.  -READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

 

So, that’s the latest for now- Just waiting on the genetic testing to see which treatment plan we’ll move forward with, so cross your fingers for those parp inhibitors for me! My chemo battle buddy had her last treatment but still came back to see me through my last round. Just love her so much. And everyone who has been there for me through all of this, I can’t even tell you. 

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