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Posts: 37
Joined: May 13, 2017


Posted by @gaybinator, Jun 6, 2017

My husband has squamous cell carcinoma (spindle cell) which originated on his scalp. He has had numerous surgeries and radiations on his head. He began Erbitux in October. The latest PET scan shows NO cancer on his head, but three areas of concern in his torso. Mayo doctor mentioned in March that we might try immunotherapy “if it comes to that.”

My husband had a transplanted kidney, which was rejected in March. Immuno was not an option before, but with the kidney no longer a consideration, it might be the only option left.

Wondering what experience those in this group have had with immunotherapy?


Posted by @colleenyoung, Jun 6, 2017

Hi Gaybinator,
Do you know what type of immunotherapy would be considered for your husband? I’m wondering if it might be nivolumab (Opdivo)

I believe @sylviapf‘s husband was or is in treatment with nivolumab or pembrolizumab (Keytruda). @alpaca, do you have any experience or knowledge about immunotherapy for squamous cell carcinoma?

Maureen, Volunteer Mentor

Posts: 84
Joined: Nov 17, 2016
Posted by @alpaca, Jun 6, 2017

We don’t have Keytruda funded here in NZ although it has been authorised and some head and neck cancer patients pay for it privately. A guy on one of my Facebook groups with metastatic cancer is doing well on it – in the USA. I think Opdivo is approved too but not funded. Sounds as if Ketruda will shrink tumours in some people with SCC.


Posts: 37
Joined: May 13, 2017
Posted by @gaybinator, Jun 17, 2017

Found out Thursday that it will be Keytruda starting 6/20/2017. Wondering about @sylviapf ‘s husband’s experience?


Posts: 17
Joined: Jul 14, 2016
Posted by @sylviapf, Jun 19, 2017

Ken has completed 11 infusion of Keytruda. He has experienced some side effects. His cortisol level plummeted, so he is on 30 mg of hydrocortisone for the rest of his life. Also he has a rash that has been problematic. One area turned into a squamous cell cancer, so he had to have Mohs surgery on his left ankle. We had a 9 week interruption in treatment with cortisol problems, but the squamous cell problem has not stopped therapy. His last scan showed mixed results: tumors on the left side grew while the ones on the right shrank. Despite these issues, we are now measuring tumors in mm rather than cm. And the really good news is that he remained stable during our 9 weeks off therapy. We feel blessed to have this option. I pray you have a good response.

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