Resistant to femara and all other hormonal treatments


My Mum was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer 3 months ago (extensive mets in many bones, no organ involvement) following a primary bc diagnosis 12 years ago. Being strongly ER+ we had anticipated that she would respond well to the femara that she was initially put on. However, having just had a follow up scan we have been told that there has been progression of the disease and that neither femara or other hormonal treatments are likely to work at all. The Oncologist had said that Mum now needs to have chemotherapy, which we are discussing with him in more detail next week.

When researching we have found lots of people who inevitably become resistant to femara and other hormonal treatments over time but not so many who do not respond to it (and therefore others) straight away - does anyone know if this is this uncommon?

Having heard such good things about femara and lots of stories of women who are on this for a number of years, we are worried that we may not have the same experience with chemotherapy (particularly as presumably you can not stay on it for as long?) - any thoughts on whether this may be the case?

Any advice or similar experiences very much appreciated!

I’m sorry I have no experience of Femara, but I am on Avastin for a bone met. Is this an option for your mum - is she being treated privately or on the NHS?

Thanks for your response - Avastin hasn’t been mentioned. Does it work differently to hormonal treatments then? We’ll ask the Oncologist about this one! She’s being treated privately at the moment - does that make a difference to what treatments are available?

Amber - So sorry you are going through this. My Mum had bc which had spread to her bones by the time it was diagnosed, so I know how you must feel. She was treated privately and I think the only difference (apart from the lovely private room and the shorter wait) is that they can use any drug available, as they are not restricted by cost as the NHS may be - although I have not found that to be a problem in my case.

What I wanted to say was that I read that bc cells having spread can sometimes change from being hormone receptive to not and vice versa and that they need to be re-tested. Have they done that for your Mum? Have they tested her HER2 status?

I do hope the chemo works for her.

Ann xxx

Yes Avastin works differently - by cutting of the blood supply to a tumour - effectively killing it by starving it of what it needs to grow. It’s quite new and has had good test results in secondary cancer, and is now ok’d in the States for primary BC, but not here yet as far as I know. I am having it privately, and I know it is not as easy to get on the NHS - it is massively expensive, and my insurance company will only pay for a year, so am hoping it will do it’s job by then. It is taken every 3 weeks by IV with fairly minimal SE’s, but you do need good heart and kidney function. I would have thought it is worth asking about - but my onc had to do battle with the insurance company to get it. Good luck

Finty xxx