TAPUR: When Chemo Stops Working


MIAMI, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Finding out you have cancer is scary enough. But if the doctor says it’s stage 4 then you know it’s life-threatening. See how a nationwide study changed the life of one woman who was told she was ready for hospice.

Anita Shangvi has battled breast cancer since 2007.

Shangvi said, “First recurrence was 2011.”

Then three years ago she found out the cancer had spread.

Shangvi continued, “It went to the lungs and I was shot into stage 4.”

Carmen Calfa, MD, Breast Medical Oncologist, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, and Associate Director of Community Outreach Breast Cancer Program at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Plantation says the problem is when standard treatments stop working.

(Read Full Interview)

“So, patients go through several lines of therapy because what happens is cancer outsmarts us unfortunately,” said Dr. Calfa.

Now there’s hope for stage 4 cancer patients who’ve run out of treatment options. It’s called the TAPUR study.

Dr. Calfa explained, “So it’s basically using a drug that has an FDA approval for a different cancer type.”

Study participants go through genomic testing to determine the specific mutation of their tumor. The study then matches the patient to a targeted therapy already on the market for a different cancer.

“It will look to see if it’s efficacious, if it works, if it’s safe, what are your side effects,” said Dr. Calfa.

Shangvi qualified for the study and is now getting an investigational therapy for her metastatic breast cancer.

Shangvi said, “Fourteen months later I’m here talking to you guys!”

Shangvi gets an infusion every three weeks. She’s still in the battle of her life but now feels she’s got a fighting chance.

“It has given me that optimism, it has put me back in the game. And you know what, I have a chance here,” said Shangvi.

Allowing daughter Tasha to spend more time with her mom.

The TAPUR study is sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology and is open to patients with other advanced cancers. There are more than 100 sites in 20 states offering the TAPUR study. To find out more please visit www.tapur.org and http://med.miami.edu/news/sylvester-is-sole-florida-site-for-tapur-clinical-trial

Contributors to this news report include: Janna Ross, Field Producer; Judy Reich, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Hayley Hudson, Assistant Producer; Robert Walko, Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #4527

BACKGROUND: According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 27 percent of people in the United States live at least five years after being diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Stage 4 breast cancer is also called metastatic breast cancer or advanced breast cancer. In this stage, cancer that developed in your breast has spread to other areas of your body. Cancer cells might have traveled through your lymphatic system to your lungs, bones, liver, brain, or other organs. Stage 4 is the most serious and life-threatening stage of breast cancer. Most often, stage 4 breast cancer develops long after a person has first been diagnosed with cancer. In rare cases, the cancer may have progressed to stage 4 at the time a person is first diagnosed.

(Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/beating-stage-4-breast-cancer-it-possible#medical-treatment)

TREATMENT: The American Cancer Society says when cancer treatment stops working, there are a few other options to look into, such as new treatments, including those available through clinical trials. “At some point it might become very unlikely that trying another treatment will improve your health or help you live longer. Whether or not you continue treatment, palliative care can ease symptoms and side effects. At the end of life, hospice care focuses on your quality of life and helping you manage your symptoms.”

(Source: https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/if-cancer-treatments-stop-working.html)

NEW RESEARCH: The Targeted Agent and Profiling Utilization Registry (TAPUR) Study is the first clinical trial conducted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the world’s leading professional organization representing physicians who care for people with cancer. Carmen Calfa, MD, a Breast Medical Oncologist, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine and Associate Director of Community Outreach Breast Cancer Program at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Plantation, Florida, said, “Research focused on understanding how to overcome resistance is ongoing. Understanding what drives a particular tumor growth is essential to develop personalized effective therapies. The TAPUR Study is researching whether drugs that are FDA approved for certain indications would work in treating other types of cancer based on tumor’s specific genomic variation.”

(Sources: Carmen Calfa, MD & https://www.cancer.net/research-and-advocacy/clinical-trials/what-tapur-study)


Diana Gonzalez, PR Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Ctr



If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Carmen Calfa, MD, a Breast Medical Oncologist, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine and Associate Director of Community Outreach Breast Cancer Program

Read the entire Q&A