It is important to make the distinction here that they are talking about 1st line treatment for people dx with advanced lung cancer - Tarceva is not considered a cure, but can treat for progression free and overall survival. If your doctor is proposing chemo/radiation or surgery with curative intent, this news is not applicable.
I spent many moments wondering why I had surgery, chemo and radiation once I went onto Tarceva - it was for that possibility of a cure prior to my mets. I needed to remind myself of that on more than one occasion.
On the other hand, for many people this will be a good option - I hope that they find a way to test more quickly for the EGFR mutation.
(photo: me in '61)
Female never smoked, 52 at diagnosis, otherwise healthy
09/08: false cardiac event = finding of 3 cm tumor upper right lobe plus two .5 cm nodes elsewhere on chest x-ray at ER
09/08: CTScan with IV contrast confirms.
10/08: Pulmonary referral for EBUS - bronchoscopy - confirms NSCLC - adenocarcinoma, with bronchoalveolar features
10/08: PetScan - further confirmation, classified T1N0MX (false negative) VATS scheduled.
11/08: full open surgery - revised to T4N2MX with positive spread to 2 lymph nodes, removed upper lobe with 3 cm tumor and partial mid lobe with (1) .5 cm tumor, 3 lymph nodes on trachea - 1 lymph node and margins negative.
5 night hospital stay.
12/08: Port-a-cath implanted
12/08: Brain MRI and hearing test - good other than minor high end loss in left ear
12/08: start (4) 21 day cycles of chemo - day 1 cisplatin and gemcitabine, day 8 gemcitabine alone, day 15 off - tolerated it pretty well - a little hair thinning and follicle inflammation, some ringing in ears and vertigo, much fatigue, and nausea. Kept my taste-buds almost intact.
02/27/09: completed 4 cycles of chemo!
03/03/09: removed port-a-cath
03/27/09: tattooed for radiation
03/30/09: start radiation (IMRT) 5x/wk for 6 weeks - fatigue, moderate esophagitis
5/08/09: completed treatment
9/18/09: Recurrance in the liver and scattered in lungs. No symptoms. Rx Tarceva.
9/25/09: start Tarceva
11/20/09: clear lungs, shrinkage in liver.
2/24/10: still good on Tarceva
6/3/10: graduated to 6 month scan
12/9/10: new 6 cm tumor in liver
12/28/10: stop Tarceva
3/11/11: scan after 3 cycles 72%ish met reduction, stay the course
5/26/11: scan after 6 cycles, stable.
5/31/11: begin Avastin maintenance.
8/17/11: met growth, stop Avastin. Start Alimta.
10/25/11: met growth, stop Alimta. Wondering what to do next?
1/24/11: start hospice