Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cholesterol Update, and a Clarification

The Cholesterol Update:

     Back in August I posted an optimistic blog entitled, "Reading Between the Lines":

I wrote, enthusiastically, about getting to re-start a cholesterol lowering medication.  My targeted chemotherapy has been working long enough that I didn't want to forget about other health issues.  Who knows, maybe there's a possibility that I may live long enough to worry about cardiovascular consequences of untreated high cholesterol.  So, in August, I started on a low dose of atorvastatin, (generic Lipitor), with the idea that we'd monitor my lipids and liver enzymes and make any needed adjustments.  I was feeling pretty damn cocky that I got to start back on atorvastatin.  

     A couple weeks ago I had follow-up blood tests to check my lipid profile and liver enzymes.  Great news!  My lipid profile was completely normal.  My cholesterol value, (which is usually in the mid-200's when on medication and in the 300's when off of medication,) was 162.  But, my liver enzymes were abnormally high.  Crap.  My cholesterol was low because I was knocking out my liver.  So...I'm off atorvastatin.  Crap...again.

and The Clarification:

     My last post had some information that I had misunderstood.  Thank you to my fellow ROS1 cancer ninja friends, Tori and Janet, for correcting my understanding about our medication, Xalkori.  

     Xalkori has not yet been FDA fast-tracked nor approved for ROS1-positive lung cancer.  It is still in clinical trials and is being used "off label" for ROS1 patients based on the available data for a similar mutation called ALK.  The recent New England Journal of Medicine's article presented data for its use with ROS1-positive patients, which is a step toward getting Xalkori approved by the FDA for ROS1-positive lung cancer.  This is really an important article.  With this data, insurance companies will have more trouble denying coverage for it.