Afinitor is an oral drug approved by the FDA in 2012 for hormone positive and HER2 negative advanced breast cancer patients, especially for the ones who are post menopause heavily exposed to chemo drugs already.
My cancer is a different type; hormone negative and HER2 positive, but in a study of Dr. Slamon, the women like me were given Afinitor with Herceptin and Taxol and stayed without cancer progression about 20 months as a median. This number is really encouraging.
The oncologist told me to start adding Afinitor from next week, when I start the 5th cycle of Herceptin and Abraxane.
My concern is the side effects. Major possible side effects are mouth sores and infections, which could become fatal. Also, nausea, diarrhea, taste change, fatigue, elevation of cholesterol and blood sugar. One of the ladies, who has had Afinitor told me that she could be on only 4 months because she became diabetic. There are also lucky ladies, who say they could handle Afinitor pretty well.
In my case, the white blood cell count has been already affected by Abraxane. Platelet counts dropped so low with TDM1 that I had to hold the infusion. The blood sugar level has been in the normal range since I got off a steroid, but the cholesterol level is already high. Also I have tendency to have urinary tract infection.
As most ladies who have had Afinitor have hormone positive breast cancer, the protocol of the dose may be different from mine. Yet while their doses are 5-7.5mg, I was told that my dose is supposed to be 10mg!
Being freaked out, I asked the doctor if I could start from 5mg and gradually increase the dose. Thankfully she said ok.
I wonder how long I can be on Afinitor–It’s all up to God.