Saturday, May 29, 2010

Disappointing Test Results

Thursday, May 27, was the end of Cycle 29 of my pomalidomide (CC-4047) trial at Mayo Clinic. Unfortunately, my IgG and M-spike were both up about 10%, which is not good news. Every myeloma regimen fails eventually, and this could signal the end of my rather easy ride on pomalidomide. Furthermore, the neutrophil count is 920 (tiny buggers per microliter) and if it stays below 1000 I can't continue on the pomalidomide study until it goes back up. Otherwise, in theory at least, I'm a little too vulnerable to bacterial and fungal infections.


My Mayo blood draws are usually ay 6:30 am, and the neutrophil count was below 1000 at the end of both of the previous two cycles. In an afternoon blood draw a few days later, in both cases, the count had jumped up well above 1000 and I was able to continue on the study. This time, though, I was heading out of town to run a marathon, so we did another blood draw at Mayo before I left, still in the morning but not so early, hoping that it would show 1000 or above. But the vaunted Mayo Clinic screwed up! They did the CBC, but failed to do the differential which shows the actual absolute neutrophil count. By the time we discovered this, the test could not be repeated and we were almost halfway from Minnesota to Idaho. So the next day we stopped in Billings, MT, and had blood drawn there. I do not yet know the results of that CBC, so I can't be sure of continuing on the study. I'll assume the best unless I hear from Mayo.


I have been taking genistein, a soy isoflavone, throughout the pomalidomide trial, about 50 mg/day. It is supposed to have some anti-cancer effects by "supporting" the immune system. However, since myeloma is a cancer OF the immune system, there is a question whether it should be "supported," and in addition there are other questions about any estrogen-simulating supplement. So I decided to stop it for a cycle, to see what might happen to IgG and M-spike. I guess I got my answer. Back on genistein!

Hand Infection:

Three months ago I whacked the back of my left hand against something and got an infection, either bacterial or fungal, and the hand eventually got quite warm, swollen, and painful. It has healed very slowly, but it's almost better now.

Some current test results:

Test    Mar 04    Apr 01    Apr 29    May 27     Remarks
M-spike g/dL 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.1 Best tumor measure
IgG mg/dL 1130 1070 1010 1110 Variation is normal
L FLC mg/dL 2.10 1.82 2.41 2.58 L Free light chains
Calcium mg/dL 10.1 9.8 9.7 9.9 Below 10.2 is best
Creat mg/dL 1.0 1.2 1.3 1.3 Kidney, normal
HGB g/dL 14.2 14.7 14.6 14.1 Hemoglobin, normal
RBC M/uL 4.17 4.39 4.21 4.36 Red cells, normal
WBC cells/uL 3400 3300 3300 3600 White cells, low
ANC cells/uL 1290 940 730 920 Neutrophils, LOW!

ASCO Conference:

I have been invited to attend the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists next week, and I will be blogging in "real time" about the presentations that I see there. Here are a few of the topics that seem interesting to me:
  • Studies of Carfilzomib, a Velcade-like drug which has far fewer side effects;
  • Post-transplant maintenance therapy with Revlimid or another drug, versus no maintenance. We're going to hear that maintenance prolongs lives!;
  • Denosumab versus Zometa for bone problems;
  • More about pomalidomide (when will they get this FDA approved?);
  • Doxil, Velcade, and dexamethasone as front-line therapy; and
  • LOTS more. I can't hope to cover it all.
Related links:

My Myeloma     A discussion of my myeloma, not very technical.
My Treatment History Not technical.
My Test Charts Graphic displays of several key test results over time.
My Test Result Table Best with a wide browser window. Somewhat technical.
My Supplement Regimen With links to where I buy them.

I haven't had time to update the charts, test results table, and other documents (see links above) that go with this post, but wanted to get this posted now while I have a few minutes. I'll get around to the rest later, but there is really not a lot of change except the increase in IgG and M-spike.

P.S. June 2, 2010: The blood test (CBC) at Billings Clinic showed 1890 little guys per microliter (how can it go up that much from 920 in one day?) so I'm still on the study!



  1. I've had plenty of M-spikes that have gone up .1, only to be back down the following month! Hang in there! :) I will be blogging at ASCO also!

  2. Don-

    Please consider supplementing with antiangiogenesis, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory curcumin, resveratrol and/or green tea extract-

    There is growing info on the anti-cancer, anti-mm properties of each and I think these supplements help to keep me in CR.