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Halfway through two-year clinical trial MK3475

Forums General Melanoma Community Halfway through two-year clinical trial MK3475

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      Hello dear friends,

      I hope this post finds you and your love ones doing well.  

      My husband has been participating in a 2 year clinical trial known as MK3475 – Keytrudaand Peg interferon.   He has two tumors near the original site, one in his sternum and the other in a lymph node on his neck. Over the past 12 months he has not developed any additional tumors and the tumor in his sternum has shrunk by 13%.   I’m feeling like my husband’s response should have been better after 18 treatments of Keytryda.  

      I can’t help think there might be something else worth considering as a course of treatment. Don’t want to rock the boat with Dr. Kirwood but feel a Meeting should be arrangec to discuss progress.   Hard to sit back and wait when the response isn’t that significant. One thing I’ve learned with this disease is you must stay ahead of it and control tumor growth. 

      Any advice or guidance would be appreciated. 

      God bless!

      Jenine, Pittsburgh PA

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          Hi Jenine,

          Without knowing all the details of your husband's condition, no new tumors and a 13% reduction in one sounds like a positive result.

          It never hurts to discuss options and possible changes in treatment, but I wouldn't get discouraged thinking that his response hasn't been robust enough. I'm no cancer expert by any means — just a patient — but in many things, trying to lose weight for example, a slow change in the right direction is often more long lasting than a rapid one.



            Hey Jenine,

            I know exactly how you feel.  You just want the stuff eradicated and gone. I've been living the stable for nearly 4 years now and sometimes I still get a little disappointed when I get those scan reports.  I feel guilty about feeling that way, especially when I come here and see so many folks struggling.  If you haven't read the blog by TJ Sharpe, Patient #1, you should check it out sometime.  He had a quote that I try to remind my self.  It went something like "stable is a tie and in this game a tie is a win."  Your husband could very well be in a tie for the next 20 years.

            As far as changing courses while you are stable, in my experinence no melanoma doctor is going to recommend that.  I think you should still ask the question to Dr. Kirkwood.  You will probably get some good insights into how he feels about your husband's response.



              Hi  Jenine,  I have had stubborn sternum tumor since 2014.  Went through trial with Yervoy and Interferon for 10 months and it disappeared.  Following year it came back so we blasted it with radiation.  It disappeared again but the radiation dose wasn't strong enough.  Came back with a vengence in 2016 so my Mayo Drs. put me on Keytruda and this time blasted it over a 2 wk span with enough radiation to kill a horse.  There words not mine.  Difference here was  Mayo used a new radiation techniQue that blasts the tumor 360 degrees with very little effect to surrounding tissue and with the Keytruda addition I am 1 scan away from ending the Keytruda.  Pet scan is next week an we are all hoping for a really nice early Christmas present.  Note radiation treatments are not created equal.  Wishing your husband the best and you and your family a Merry Christmas.  God Bless. Beans

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