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Biochemotherapy

Forums General Melanoma Community Biochemotherapy

  • Post
    Lisa13
    Participant

      I had a very deep primary  (nodular) with 1 node positive (macro). In researching treatment options, biochem along with Interferon has been the only options I'm faced with (other than clinical trials). That being said, for those of you who have done biochem – what are your experiences? Is this chemo and adjuvent therapy together?  Is it successful?

      I'm in a race to get going on treatment so that I can try and stay ahead of this beast. Before I meet with my oncologist I wanted to have some info ahead of time.

      Thank you,

      Lisa

      I had a very deep primary  (nodular) with 1 node positive (macro). In researching treatment options, biochem along with Interferon has been the only options I'm faced with (other than clinical trials). That being said, for those of you who have done biochem – what are your experiences? Is this chemo and adjuvent therapy together?  Is it successful?

      I'm in a race to get going on treatment so that I can try and stay ahead of this beast. Before I meet with my oncologist I wanted to have some info ahead of time.

      Thank you,

      Lisa

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    • Replies
        RMcLegal
        Participant

          Hi Lisa, I did biochemotherapy in 2003 at the University of Colorado Cancer Center after receiving a Stage IIIc diagnosis (14 positive nodes).  Today, I'm healthy and showing no evidence of disease.  For me, biochemo was a drug cocktail of interferon, interleukin-2, dacarbazine, cisplatin (and maybe some vinblastin thrown in).  My docs co-authored a paper published in the July 2006 edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, and reported very promising results– better than interferon in terms of relapse-free survival rates.  The folks at UCCC (and elsewhere) continue to recommend biochemo in some cases because they continue to see good results.  If you Google "Karl D. Lewis M.D. and biochemotherapy", you'll find the paper.

          Biochemo is rough stuff, and you have to do it as a hospital inpatient so they can manage the side effects.  I've blogged about the lighter side of my long, strange trip as a patient at http://www.hotelmelanoma.blogspot.com.   If you read the first, rather long, blog post in March 2010 you'll get a feel for the biochemo experience from the patient's perspective.  I'd do it again under the circumstances I was facing in 2003.

          Have you asked if Ipilumabab (Yervoy) is an option for you?  There are clinical trials underway using Ipi for Stage III treatment.

          Best wishes to you!

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          RMcLegal
          Participant

            Hi Lisa, I did biochemotherapy in 2003 at the University of Colorado Cancer Center after receiving a Stage IIIc diagnosis (14 positive nodes).  Today, I'm healthy and showing no evidence of disease.  For me, biochemo was a drug cocktail of interferon, interleukin-2, dacarbazine, cisplatin (and maybe some vinblastin thrown in).  My docs co-authored a paper published in the July 2006 edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, and reported very promising results– better than interferon in terms of relapse-free survival rates.  The folks at UCCC (and elsewhere) continue to recommend biochemo in some cases because they continue to see good results.  If you Google "Karl D. Lewis M.D. and biochemotherapy", you'll find the paper.

            Biochemo is rough stuff, and you have to do it as a hospital inpatient so they can manage the side effects.  I've blogged about the lighter side of my long, strange trip as a patient at http://www.hotelmelanoma.blogspot.com.   If you read the first, rather long, blog post in March 2010 you'll get a feel for the biochemo experience from the patient's perspective.  I'd do it again under the circumstances I was facing in 2003.

            Have you asked if Ipilumabab (Yervoy) is an option for you?  There are clinical trials underway using Ipi for Stage III treatment.

            Best wishes to you!

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            KevinM
            Participant

              Hi Lisa,

              I did 3 rounds of bio-chem in the fall of 2006 in a clinical trial as an adjuvent treatment. I am stage 3 with an unknown primary…1 axillary lymph node (2/3rds of a golf ball size) positive. The treatment is rough but do-able. I am glad I did this treatment….I am 5 years NED! I don't know if I would have been NED without it or not but I still feel that choosing a very aggresive treatment gave me the best chance for a long life.

              Please check my patnet for my treatment details or email any questions.

              Best of luck!!

              Kevin

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                RMcLegal
                Participant

                  Kevin, great to hear you're doing so well after biochemo.  Do you ever feel like you're a member of a small club?  I've tried to connect with other Stage III biochemo veterans, through this board and another, and have only heard from a handful of folks.  Best wishes. 

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                  RMcLegal
                  Participant

                    Kevin, great to hear you're doing so well after biochemo.  Do you ever feel like you're a member of a small club?  I've tried to connect with other Stage III biochemo veterans, through this board and another, and have only heard from a handful of folks.  Best wishes. 

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                  KevinM
                  Participant

                    Hi Lisa,

                    I did 3 rounds of bio-chem in the fall of 2006 in a clinical trial as an adjuvent treatment. I am stage 3 with an unknown primary…1 axillary lymph node (2/3rds of a golf ball size) positive. The treatment is rough but do-able. I am glad I did this treatment….I am 5 years NED! I don't know if I would have been NED without it or not but I still feel that choosing a very aggresive treatment gave me the best chance for a long life.

                    Please check my patnet for my treatment details or email any questions.

                    Best of luck!!

                    Kevin

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                    AndyD
                    Participant

                      Hey Lisa,

                      I did biochemo in 2006 at Kaiser Permanente Riverside with a similar coctail as RMcLegals. I agree that it was difficult. For the treatment you are heavily drugged and won't remember much of it. I do remember the part I hated most was when my temp went up…I had total chills and they either get you to sleep on this ice mat or stuff more ice bags in your armpits, and groin…not the feeling you want when you have the chills. lol The hard part is the month after treatment…you can feel like death. My white blood cells were close to 0 which makes you feel terrible. I believe the stats are something like a 15%-20% of patients have a long term durable response. It helped me but for only 6-12 months.

                      After biochemo you can also consider IL2
                      http://www.proleukin.com/

                      The response rate is around the same. You are sicker in the hospital (but so drugged you won'r remember) but recover much faster at home. This treatment again only got me 6-12 of stable diseases.

                      As others have said, you can also consider ipi now. Of the three it has the least horrible side effects when controlled properly.

                      hope this info helps.

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                      AndyD
                      Participant

                        Hey Lisa,

                        I did biochemo in 2006 at Kaiser Permanente Riverside with a similar coctail as RMcLegals. I agree that it was difficult. For the treatment you are heavily drugged and won't remember much of it. I do remember the part I hated most was when my temp went up…I had total chills and they either get you to sleep on this ice mat or stuff more ice bags in your armpits, and groin…not the feeling you want when you have the chills. lol The hard part is the month after treatment…you can feel like death. My white blood cells were close to 0 which makes you feel terrible. I believe the stats are something like a 15%-20% of patients have a long term durable response. It helped me but for only 6-12 months.

                        After biochemo you can also consider IL2
                        http://www.proleukin.com/

                        The response rate is around the same. You are sicker in the hospital (but so drugged you won'r remember) but recover much faster at home. This treatment again only got me 6-12 of stable diseases.

                        As others have said, you can also consider ipi now. Of the three it has the least horrible side effects when controlled properly.

                        hope this info helps.

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