April 28, 2009

Summer time, summer time, sum-sum-summer time!

On Monday we met with Dr. V for my monthly appointment.

PSA = 39.75

This is up slightly from four weeks ago (36.16) but not significantly.
He reviewed the letter from Dr. L at MD Anderson and we discussed the recommendations at length. He is in agreement with the recommendations and he ordered the two new tests. We will use a combination of these three tests two determine when we make our next move.

I already have total alkaline phosphates measured each month as part of a standard CBC Blood panel but the first new test will break it down further. Here are some details from my friend Howard at hrpca.org:
Alkaline Phosphatase, serum Bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BAP.) When alkaline phosphatase is measured, it is actually the sum of the bone-specific and liver-specific components (isoenzymes.) BAP can indicate excess osteoblastic cell activity which may indicate bone metastases. Metra Systems, Inc., says that Bone Alkaline Phosphatase is an osteoblast membrane-bound molecule which is involved in bone formation. Levels of this enzyme are thought to be indicative of the activity of osteoblasts.

Another description of AlkPhos is that it is an enzyme that is found on the surface of osteoblasts(the cells that build bone) and as such is used as a serum marker of increased osteoblast activity. Since bone is being added at prostate cancer bone metastases, an increased alkaline phosphatase can mean increased bone met formation. A recent paper by MR Smith et al in Urology discussed BAP and NTx in their role as predictors of skeletal complications in HRPC patients (MR Smith, et al, Urology 70: 315-319, 2007.) Their conclusion was that elevated baseline levels of BAP are associated with a greater risk of adverse skeletal outcomes - events such as shorter time to radiotherapy or shorter time to first pathologic fracture. NTx was also found to be of value in monitoring patients on bisphosphonates.

The second new test will measure the amount of CTC's or Circulating Tumor Cells. Recent studies suggest that for men with advanced disease, measuring whether the number of cancer cells circulating (CTC) in the blood stream is rising or falling may be a more accurate method for determining response than PSA. CTC’s are found in many cancers but are most common in prostate cancer.

So we ran both tests in order to establish a baseline and I will have the tests repeated in three months along with an updated bone scan and MRI. So unless my PSA goes crazy or I develop pain somewhere, no foreseen changes for the next three months.

Not sure if you caught that, three months, as in July!!!



Paige said...

Congratulations my friend! Sounds like you just kicked off one hell of a summer! I'm drinking one to your right now. Let's get that happy hour on the books! So happy for you!

John Wagner said...

Ahh, a three month vacation from doctors and tests is fantastic. Congratulations and enjoy this time to the fullest. Celebrating with you as we both had good news yesterday!

Anonymous said...

David , This sounds good to staying the course for three months
I am sure You will be getting Your psa with Your monthly Lupron as usual .
Dr L's words about getting the most from every therapy have been ringing in My ears lately.
I am glad you have the expert care that You do

Anonymous said...

I had a CTC last year. It came back good for me. Also Kathy Meade sent us a link to the presentations shown at the Scientific Retreat hosted by PCF. There was a great presentation on it about CTC. If you don't have it let me know.