I saw the oncologist today and the results of my recent bone scan indicate new metastases in the thoracic spine (around the shoulder blades) and right rib. My tumor marker has climbed as well from the December low of 17 to a current value of just over 80. It appears that the Arimidex is not working as well as we had hoped.
We discussed a clinical trial, Xeloda, and estrogen therapies. Dr. G's staff is going to find out if I qualify for the dasatinib trial. If I do qualify, this is the treatment plan of choice. No doubt it will include more scans and tests, to help determine the disease's current activity more completely.
As far as estrogen therapy goes, Dr. G discussed my case with Dr. Hannah Linden, an oncologist at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, who thought it might be a good fit for me when they start running this protocol. Dr. G wisely says that there's no point in trying to replicate the study results without a protocol. He remains concerned that any benefit from estrogen would be very short-term (like the drop after stopping tamoxifen and starting Arimidex, which lasted about a month). And of course, with such a highly estrogen-sensitive cancer as mine, giving me more estrogen could simply mean feeding the cancer.
As my cousin the oncologist pointed out, I can always take Xeloda if I don't qualify for the clinical trial or the dasatinib doesn't work.
Stay tuned for more.