My baby is FOUR today!

… and I’m in better shape than I was earlier this week. My participation in the clinical trial is all but confirmed. My doctor says the additional week delay (total of 3 weeks since the PET scan) isn’t going to be a problem, and we’re all in much better shape emotionally than earlier in the week.

I’m happy to share that three of my online friends have posted information about the new partnership between LympheDIVAs and Crickett’s Answer and donated $1/comment for lymphedema sleeves this week, for a confirmed total of $500 from @ThatKristen, $100 from Marty/@canape, and a number of direct donations made for this project from the Internet (well, from PEOPLE on the Internet and using social media, but you know what I mean). Even better, the word is getting out that help with sleeves is AVAILABLE, and I’m cheered to hear that there are more posts from other bloggers (and ACS!) on the way!

I even have the first success story to share, from the first woman helped as we were getting this together back in November. She has additional disability and can’t drive, so she relies on metro and metro access to get to lymphedema treatment each week, taking time and energy that she needs to parent her young son. Without the sleeve, she had to come back frequently for therapy. Now that she has a class 2 lymphedema sleeve and glove to help manage her own care, she has been discharged from therapy and has that time, energy, and effort back!

The foundation has agreed to send her a second sleeve and glove to help with compliance. (It’s difficult to wash a garment every night for daily wear; having two really helps.)

As for me, I burrowed into work this week (trying to ignore the recurrence) and have come back here frequently to enjoy the love and lift my spirits. I’m hoping for amnesty from replying to every comment while I get things back to a kind of normal around here, but I thank you and love you all!

Except for the person who told me
to read The Secret to fight this fourth cancer. You, I worry about.

Today, my “baby,” known here as Little Bear, is four. Tomorrow, we will laugh and celebrate and race fire trucks on homemade ramps, and celebrate the JOY of living – for today is a day I didn’t know I’d have, and, as I’m often reminded, I am lucky – very lucky – to be here TODAY, and to be his Mama.

Happy birthday, Little Bear. You are joy and laughter and happiness, and I just melt whenever you blow a kiss (rapid-fire), flash that grin that lights up a room, or snuggle in, with a quiet “I love you, Mama.”

I love you too, Little Bear. And every day of my life, I live now for you and your brother Widget. The pain and fear and uncertainty that you’re reading about in these archives – please know always that for you – for you – it was worth it.

24 Responses to My baby is FOUR today!

  1. Linda Lawrence says:

    Yes, yes, happy birthday Little Bear! We love you! Have a wonderful day!

  2. Happy Birthday, Little Bear!! Your momma just made me cry! Smother that little guy with kisses!

  3. Happy birthday to Little Bear and his momma and daddy – I’m so, so glad that your momma is there to share it with you, and hope beyond hope that she’ll be there to share it with you for many, many more birthdays.

  4. Andrea says:

    Happiest of birthdays, Little (Birthday) Bear! πŸ™‚ Enjoy the celebration of the anniversary of your birth. What a blessed day that was, 4 years ago, that Mommy & Daddy cooperated with God’s plan to have you grace the earth with your presence. How lucky the earth is & all of us are. ❀

  5. *m* says:

    Wishing Little Bear and his whole family (wait, what’s the collective noun for bear? oh well…) a wonderful birthday celebration!

  6. Niksmom says:

    Happy birthday to your Little Bear. πŸ˜€ (I call Nik that, too!) My birthday wish for him, and for you, is that he is reading these archives one day with you sitting right by his side.

  7. Mama Echo says:

    Happy Birthday Little Bear!!

  8. Colleen says:

    Chickadee #2 says, “Happy Birthday to you, you live in a zoo…” you know the rest. Happy Birthday to Little Bear. And to Whymommy — enjoy this wonderful happy day, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow with your lovely WhyDaddy, Widget, and Little Bear. And, someday when, with the grace of God, your Little Bear looks down on his mommma (who has somehow become so short as he has become so tall) while the two of them are sitting at the computer reading this archive, he’s going to really know, in the marrow of his bones, that grace abounds and love abides.

  9. Ah! Four! One of my favorite ages.

  10. elesha says:

    Happy Birthday little guys enjoy the day with your little man. I don’t have cancer but every Birthday I thank god for another year with my kids.
    I might have tears in my eyes after reading that but as always it was beautiful and honest and special like you.xx

  11. Donna W says:

    Happy birthday Little Bear, and God bless your whole family.

  12. Sylvia says:

    Sorry if you took my comment as an insult to read the book The Secret, I was just hoping it would give you a little more strength. Believe me I know what you are going through is terrible and I know first hand because my sister also has inflammatory breast cancer and is also just starting a new chemo as she has so many times in the past 6 years. So if you took that offensively, I am truely sorry. I had just read the book and found it helpful.

  13. Bon says:

    you get amnesty. πŸ™‚

    and lotsa love. a happy happy birthday to your little Bear, who will always be for me the wee babe you wrote about rocking to sleep, your “last baby” in the first post of yours i ever read.

  14. Khara says:

    Happy Birthday Little Bear! And much prayers and support to you, Susan, very excited and hopeful for you in your clinical trial.

  15. Stacy says:

    Happy Birthday Little Bear. Your Mama is my hero. πŸ™‚

    I hope the party and truck races are the most fun you have all ever had.

  16. Elaine says:

    Happy Birthday! I love 4!

  17. Happy Birthday, Little Bear. I hope you enjoy being a “big boy”. May your fire-engines be louder and faster than all the others!

  18. Happy Birthday! My “Boo” is just four too…the last vestiges of babyhood fast disappearing…Enjoy & much love to you.

  19. Happy 4th Birthday, Little Bear! We just celebrated a 4th birthday for my daughter, too! FOUR YEARS, gosh, where does the time go? Hugs!

  20. Happy Birthday!!! This is as much YOUR day as it is your Little Bear’s… Wishing you both many, MANY happy returns. I have faith– in God, and in your strength, Susan. Love to you, as always.

    xoxo CGF

  21. NYFriend says:

    Happy Birthday Little Bear! All ages of kids are wonderful, but 4 is really so fun, isn’t it?

    Another great, moving post. Man oh man your 3 guys are blessed with lots of love in your home. πŸ™‚

  22. jana says:

    Susan, you will see that the following page includes (reputable science-based “cutting edge”) recommendations for inflammatory breast cancer patients. This is worthwhile information.

    No Surrender Breast Cancer Foundation


    Edge-CAM Regimen [Version 3.6 – 7/4/2010]

    Curcuminoids + EGCG + Melatonin + HD-D3 + Parthenolide

    + CoQ10-RN
    Endocrine-responsive BC
    + Boswellic Acids/AKBA + DHA + Selenium + Resveratrol*
    Elevated risk BC
    *Re resveratrol, see caution below.

    What’s New (07/04/10): A Brief Note on CAM Synergies:

    Inclusion of an agent in the Edge-CAM regimen follows ten broad inclusion/eligibility requirements (and many exacting methodological and strength-of-evidence sub-requirements). Briefly, the components of the Edge-CAM regimen are (1) selected through a process of evidence-based review and critical appraisal (2) to exhibit multiple cross-confirmatory data of (3) efficacy, (4) safety and (5) absence of clinically significant adverse pharmacokinetic interactions as to their anticancer activity in both (6) chemopreventive and therapeutic contexts, and (7) at the in vivo level or higher (human clinical trials), and (8) must affect positively multiple molecular pathways (suggested and enumerated elsewhere) known to be active in carcinogenesis, tumorigenesis, malignant transformation and metastatic development and migration, and related malignant processes, and (9) with minimal potential for MDR (multi-drug resistance), or evidence of anti-MDR, activity, and finally (10) with non-interfering complimentary, additive or synergistic activity in concurrent administration with each other. Although therefore individual agent activity is required, the sum can manifest synergies of activity suggesting the core coherence of the regimen as a whole.

    One example, of many: Rhonda Rosengren’s team in New Zealand showed that the combination of EGCG + curcumin suppressed tumor growth in a mouse model of human breast carcinoma, finding the combination EGCG + curcumin to be synergistically cytotoxic toward MDA-MB-231 (triple negative) human breast cancer cells in vitro, while also decreasing ER+ tumor growth in vivo, and this correlated with a significant decrease in levels of VEGFR-1 (an angiogenic factor) in the tumors, and with tumor growth in the EGCG + curcumin group being inhibited by 49% compared to a tumor-suppressing rate of 31% in an EGCG only treated group.

    Another example: curcumin is known to markedly sensitize tumor cells to the growth inhibition and apoptosis from the HDAC inhibitor vorinostat (Zolinza), suggesting synergy with the natural HDAC/DNMT inhibitor parthenolide and furthermore, given the ability of the HDAC inhibitor vorinostat to prevent the brain metastasis (micro and macro) of triple-negative breast cancer (Diane Palmieri et al.) via induction of DNA double-strand breaks, this suggests the potential of parthenolide + curcumin to inhibit brain metastatic colonization. We know that many tumors evade antitumor activities along one molecular pathway via activating one, typically several, other “escape” pathways (aka, cross-signaling), so that the degree of effective antitumor activity is dependent on multi-pathway targeting, and on any molecular pathways synergies that can be leveraged via concurrency. So in Edge-CAM, there are synergies, and broad-spectrum activities, everywhere. The whole is greater . . .

    What’s New (05/01/10): Whole blueberry juice benefits TNBC. New in vitro and in vivo data from Lynn Adams and Shiuan Chem and colleagues at the Beckman Research Institute (City of Hope) suggests that whole blueberry juice (but not extracts) consumed daily is tumor-reductive, antiproliferative, recurrence-reductive and antimetastatic against triple negative breast cancer (TNBC).

    What’s New (05/01/10): Caution on resveratrol concurrently with paclitaxel (Taxol).
    [see below in Resveratrol section]

    What’s New (02/05/10): DHA for Triple Negative Disease
    Vincent Blankaert and colleagues at IUT de Laval have found that DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) slows the proliferation of triple negative breast cancer cells (MDA-MB-231) and minimizes their metastatic potential, via decreasing proliferation, increasing apoptosis, and reducing the invasive potential of triple negative tumor cells.

    What’s New (01/22/10): Vitamin D3 in Triple Negative Disease
    New evidence suggests that the triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) phenotype has the lowest average vitamin D level and the highest percentage of patients that are vitamin D deficient, strongly suggesting that low vitamin D levels are characteristic of the triple-negative phenotype. In a case series presented by Christa Rainvillle and colleagues, patients with the more aggressive triple-negative phenotype had a mean serum vitamin D level of 20 ng/ml compared to a mean of 36 ng/ml for normal volunteers. This may help to account for the fact African American women have the highest breast cancer specific mortality rates, the lowest serum levels of 25(OH)D, and the highest incidence of aggressive triple-negative or basal-like tumors (39%), as Lisa Carey and colleagues found in their Carolina Breast Cancer Study of race, breast cancer subtypes, and survival, and the Rainville findings further support that lack of vitamin D transport into cells may contribute to aggressive phenotypic expression (especially of TNBC, but possibly also, evidence suggests, of aggressive HER2+ and IBC disease). Therefore, my strong guidance for TNBC patients is to assure consistent (3 consecutive monthly readings) optimal (66+ ng/ml) Vitamin D3 levels, with periodic retesting (every 6 months).

    What’s New (12/29/09): Vitamin D3 as an Aromatase Inhibitor (AI)
    Aruna Krishnan and David Feldman’s team at Stanford have just reported that the combination of calcitriol, the active form of vitamin D3, and an AI yields: (1) AI augmentation by acting as a SAM, selective aromatase modulator, increasing aromatase expression in bone – but decreasing it elsewhere – helping to reduce the estrogen deprivation induced AI side effects on bone; (2) suppression of both estrogen synthesis and biological activity in a tissue-selective manner, causing enhanced cancer cell inhibition in both BC cells and in the surrounding breast adipose tissue; and (3) an indirect anti-aromatase effect due to COX-2 suppression. Thus the powerful anti-aromatase activity of Vitamin D3 can enhance the anti-proliferative effect of AI therapy, while ameliorating the AI-induced adverse effects on the bone.

    What’s New (12/20/09): Selenium for TNBC (Triple Negative Breast Cancer)

    * Selenium has been found to induce p53 redox modification which has the potential for at least partial restoration of p53 function to mutant p53. This is important for TNBC tumors because the vast majority of TNBCs express a mutant p53, and such failure of p53 signaling is associated with chemoresistance of tumors to therapy, especially to DNA-damaging oncotherapy (see below).
    * Therefore therapies directed toward restoring p53 function / signaling to the highly accumulated mutant p53 seen in most TNBC tumors can yield substantial benefit by improving the outcome of these oncotherapy for TNBC tumors in which p53 is prevalently mutated.
    * A Tulane University study reported at SABCS 2009 demonstrated that selenium greatly increase the growth-inhibitory potency of genotoxic (DNA-damaging) chemotherapy (doxorubicin) in TNBC cell lines expressing mutant p53 and this represents a safe and highly effective approach for increasing the efficacy of genotoxic oncotherapies in the treatment of TNBC.
    * The form of selenium used in the study (methylseleninic acid, aka MSA) is not readily commercially available, but the best approximation is Super Selenium Complex from LEF; dosing is optimized at 200 mcg (micrograms) daily – single capsule – taken with a meal.
    * Guidance:
    Anyone with TNBC who is on or anticipating genotoxic (DNA-damaging) oncotherapy, such as:

    o anthracyclines
    o platinum agents (cisplatin or carboplatin)
    o cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) (as in AC, TAC and CMF regimens)
    o radiation therapy
    o PARP inhibitor therapy

    may benefit from such selenium complex supplementation.

    What’s New (12/05/09)

    * Parthenolide (Feverfew extract)
    * DHA for metastatic breast cancer (MBC)
    * Higher Dosing Limit for Curcumin (6000mg/d)
    * Piperine antitumor activity

    What’s New (09/06/09)

    * Melatonin: enhancement of AI therapy in metastatic breast cancer
    * Melatonin: potential stimulation of ER receptor expression in ER-negative disease
    * Curcumin: first evidence of triple negative-specific activity

    What’s New (08/27/09)

    * VHD-D3 for AI-Induced Disability [new coverage]
    * Provisional: Polyphenol Complex / Quercetin
    * Reishi Mushroom Extract [for IBC only]

    (90 – 100 mg CoQ10) + riboflavin (Vitamin B2 / 10 mg) + niacin (30 mg)

    * Primarily for endocrine disease, and especially during tamoxifen therapy.
    * Potential benefit in other forms of breast cancer requires further data.
    * No standardization issue.


    * Optimal Formulation: Standardized to deliver at least 90%+ curcuminoids (the antitumor component) content, and Sabinsa-certified (the pharmaceutical grade formulation used in the studies). One leading pharmaceutical grade product comes from the Doctor’s Best brand, as the product Best Curcumin.
    * Optimal Dosing: Minimal effective dosing is 500mg / daily of curcuminoid component (one capsule daily), but this can be escalated to up to at least 1500 to 2000 mg / daily in: (1) advanced disease and metastatic settings, or in, (2) elevated risk contexts. A new study from Mathilde Bayet-Robert at the Centre Jean Perrin has established although the MTD (maximum tolerated dose) of curcumin is 8000 mg/daily, the recommended dosing for near-optimal clinical benefit in human trial of women with advanced or metastatic breast cancer is 6000 mg/daily.
    * Take curcumin towards to end of a large meal, preferably in three divided doses. When using a piperine (Bioperine) bioavailability-enhanced curcumin formulation, be aware that the piperine ingredient may enhance (but fortunately not decrease) the efficacy of other agents consumed approximately concurrently, so if at all possible, separate co-consumption by at least one hour.
    * I consider: (1) TNBC, (2) IBC, (3) MBC, and (4) HER2+ disease as contexts of elevated risks, in which cases optimize at 6000 mg/d.
    * Evidence suggests that piperine itself has antitumor activity of its own.
    * New evidence reported (9/09) from researchers at the Winship Cancer Institute and Emory University suggests that curcumin may be genotoxic (DNA-damaging), of particular benefit to triple negative and BRCA1 deficient patients, the first ever demonstration of the specific TNBC-potential activity of curcumin, showing curcumin-induced promotion of apoptosis and prevention of growth and migration of TNBC cells.

    EGCG/Green Tea Extract

    * Optimal Formulation: standardized to > 97% polyphenols, with approx 45% or higher of the active ECGC component, as in NSI Green Tea Extract.
    * Optimal Dosing: 250 – 500mg / daily, so 2 capsules daily, taken with meals, would be required (delivering 450mg/daily EGCG content. If sensitive to the modest caffeine content full daily dose should be completed before 5PM, or use an alternative caffeine-free formulation.


    * Optimal Formulation: No standardization issue with melatonin. Natrol Melatonin delivers 5 mg per capsule.
    * Optimal Dosing:20mg / daily (45 – 60 minutes before sleeptime). Begin with 5mg / daily, and step up an additional 5mg every 3 to 4 days to the 20mg level; note however that any amount at or above 3mg/daily, although not optimal, may still be beneficial and preferable to no melatonin consumption).
    * New research from the Institute of Biological Medicine in Milan) has found that melatonin added to to AI therapy in metastatic BC patients with poor clinical outcome (metastases to lung, liver, or bone) achieves an impressively high objective tumor response (complete responses (CR) 14% + partial responses (PR) 43%) of 57%, compared to the norm for AI monotherapy reported in the literature which is generally below 40%, with an additional 29% stable disease (SD), yielding a disease control rate (DCR: CR + PR + SD) of 86% in a poor outcome metastatic disease population, suggesting the enhancement of AI therapy via melatonin.


    * Optimal Formulation: Vitamin D3 (which is the cholecalciferol form), not Vitamin D2 (which is the ergocalciferol form). No standardization issues.
    * Optimal Dosing: The best way to determine the optimal level for antitumor benefit is through a simple 25(OH)D (Vitamin D3) assay or laboratory test, also known as a cholecalciferol assay / test (or the “25-Hydroxy Vitamin D” test). Aim for a target level for 25(OH)D of at least 66 ng/ml which typically will require at least 3000 – 4000 IU of Vitamin D/daily, remembering that each 1000 IUs of Vitamin D elevates serum 25(OH)D levels approximately 10 ng/ml above base.
    * Benefits of High-Optimal 25(OH)D Levels
    It is known that 52 ng/ml levels are associated with a 50% reduction in risk of breast cancer, compared to 13 ng/ml (per Cedric Garlands’s 2006 APHA review). And there is now compelling human clinical data in a case study presented by John Sievenpiper and Simon Pearce with the Royal Victoria Infirmary of high-dose Vitamin D3 (HD-D3) averaging at 10,000 IU/daily that has induced complete remission of distant metastasis (bone), with implications beyond bone metastases.
    * Therefore, for (1) patients with active malignancies, and/or (2) those at elevated risk of malignancy, recurrence or metastasis, a target level of at least 66 ng/ml would be of greater potential benefit.
    * The Special Needs of African-American Women:
    In addition, adequate testing and supplementation are even more imperative for postmenopausal African-American women who, as the NHANES III study has demonstrated, have lower serum 25(OH)D concentrations at all ages than do whites, and the research of John Aloia at Winthrop University Hospital has established that this population is relatively resistant to low-dose supplementation, finding that supplementation with 800 – 1000 IU vitamin D per day for 3 years effected absolutely no raising of 25(OH)D or PTH concentrations , in contrast to other racial/ethnic populations.
    * But note that there is considerable interpersonal variation, so retesting is prudent: three consecutive monthly readings are advised to assure optimal 25(OH)D levels (amounts of 10,000 IUs/daily and even above have been found unproblematic).
    * VHD-D3 for AI-Induced Disability
    It’s been recently established that Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency may be a, if not the, major contributor to musculoskeletal symptoms and bone loss observed in women taking aromatase inhibitors (AIs): Carol Fabian at the University of Kansas, along with Qamar Khan and their colleagues, showed that supplementation with VHD-D3 (very high dose Vitamin D3) in the form of injectable 50,000 IU weekly can reduce musculoskeletal symptoms and fatigue in women with suboptimal vitamin D levels. At baseline, 63% of women exhibited vitamin D deficiency (40 ng/ml were achieved in all women put on 12 weeks of 50,000 IU D3 supplementation with no adverse effects, and after 16 weeks of AI therapy (letrozole (Femara)), more women with median 25(OH)D levels >66 ng/ml reported no disability from joint pain than did women with any levels below, by an order of 52% versus 19%, respectively. Thus, very high levels of 25(OH)D, >= 66 ng/ml, are needed to significantly reduce disability and fatigue from AI-induced arthralgias/myalgias and associated fatigue.
    * Clinical Lessons re High Dose Vitamin D3:

    Benefit Objective
    Target 25OHD (aka, 25(OH)D Vitamin D3 Level

    Optimal Bone Health

    > 42 ng/ml

    Anticancer Activity

    > 52 ng/ml

    AI-Disability Relief

    > 66 ng/ml

    Boswellic Acids [For special populations]

    * Boswellic acids, derived from Boswellia serrata (Frankincense), are powerful LOX inhibitors, where the LOX-5 pathway has been implicated in the inflammatory component of many cancers including breast cancer, and especially of brain cancer or brain metastasis.
    * Optimal Formulation: (1) Source Naturals Boswellia Extract, delivering 262 mg of boswellic acids per tablet, and (2) NSI Boswellia Extract, delivering 200 mg of boswellic acids per tablet.
    * Optimal Dosing: Certain breast cancer classes have an elevated risk for development of metastases to the brain (CNS metastasis), and this includes (1) TNBC (and probably basal and BRCA1 mutated) and (2) HER2+ disease, and therefore it may be of prophylactic benefit for these populations to supplement with boswellic acids. Except for active brain carcinoma or metastases, dosing should deliver no less than approximately 500 – 600 mg boswellic acid daily.
    * Note on Optimal Dosing / Scheduling and Components:
    Many clinical trials have used the Sabinsa Boswellin product (under different labels), which yields approx. 150 to 162mg per dose, with the schedule typically being 3X to 4X daily, for a daily dosing of 450 – 486mg of boswellic acid content (not the extract itself) at the 3X schedule, and 600mg – 648mg daily at the 4X schedule. Therefore, following a Sabinsa-based schedule, the range would be from a low of 450mg daily to a high of 648mg daily, the general rough rule being to consume no less than 500 – 600mg daily as an average.
    * So for example the Nature’s Herb Boswellin delivers 150mg standardized boswellic acids per tablet, while Now Foods Boswellin delivers 162mg per capsule. The Source Naturals Boswellia Extract product is one of the higher potency formulations, delivering 262mg per tablet. And note that some European studies are using up to 1000mg of boswellia extract for active disease, which would typically deliver 650 mg (at 65%) to 950mg daily of boswellic acid content.
    * There is a second approach emerging to boswellia standardization: some studies are standardizing on the AKBA component of boswellic acids, known from recent research to be the critical apoptotic, anti-angiogenic and anti-proliferative component, with dosing in the range of 45 – 100mg AKBA content daily. The NSI 5-Loxin product is one such AKBA-standardized product, delivering 22.5mg per capsule, hence dosing would between 2 and 4 capsules daily (45mg to 90mg, respectively).
    * The AKBA approach, as opposed to the overall boswellic acids (BA) approach, is more targeted, seeking to assure that of all the many boswellic acids, the critical AKBA boswellic acid component is delivered precisely, so although we don’t have data to resolve the efficacy comparison of the AKBA and BA approaches, the AKBA approach appears to be of higher assured quality delivery of antitumor activity.
    * Important Note on Concurrent Food Intake:
    Pharmacokinetic studies have revealed poor bioavailability for the most critical component of boswellic acids, AKBA, which may compromise efficacy. Therefore optimal administration is dosing with a high-fat meal which dramatically maximizes bioavailability and hence delivered efficacy; the high fat can be intrinsic to the meal, or realized just by adding at least 1 – 2 tablespoons or higher of olive oil.

    Resveratrol [For special populations]

    * Even though, as I noted, the potential benefit of resveratrol are not quite as mature as those on curcuminoids, EGCG and melatonin, I consider supplementation sufficiently motivated in these cases: TNBC, IBC, MBC, or HER2+, observing the caution below.
    * Optimal Formulation: One of these pharmaceutical grade formulations:
    (1) Now Foods Natural Resveratrol Mega Potency
    (2) Enzymatic Therapy Resveratrol Forte
    (3) NSI Resveratrol Grape Seed & Red Wine Extract
    * Optimal Dosing: Extrapolating from the evidence base we can advise 100 mg resveratrol content / daily.
    * Caution:
    An in press preclinical study of resveratrol from Masuyuki Fukui and colleagues at the University of Kansas found that that resveratrol strongly diminished the susceptibility of certain breast cancer cells, including triple negative (MDA-MB-231 cells)” to paclitaxel-induced cell death in culture, and also in vivo in mice (not observed in non-TNBC MCF-7 cells), and although this has not been demonstrated in the human clinical setting, it suggests caution in co-administration of resveratrol and paclitaxel (Taxol) (and possibly by extrapolation with other taxanes, although these were not studied).

    Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) Mushroom Extract [for IBC only]

    * Michaela Hoffmeyer at the University of Texas and colleagues recently tested the hypothesis that the immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer effects of the traditional Chinese medicinal (TCM) agent Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) mushroom extract, may be effective against IBC progression and invasion, given accumulating evidence of its ability to inhibit proliferation, adhesion, migration, and invasion of cancer cells via the triterpenes component which exhibits cytotoxicity against cancer cells at high concentrations, and component polysaccharides that are immunostimulatory. The Reishi extract effectively inhibited proliferation of the IBC cell line, reducing cell-cell attachments and decreasing invasion of IBC cells. Reishi also down-regulated 52% of tumorigenesis genes in the IBC cells treated, and furthermore inhibited the MMP-2 and MMP-9 levels; this suggests that Reishi inhibits IBC progression via cell proliferation reduction, prevention of tumor emboli formation, and inhibition of invasion by reduced matrix MMP levels. So Reishi extract appears to be a natural agent with potential inhibition of IBC progression. (See IBC Watch).
    * Optimal Formulation:
    NSI Reishi Mushroom Extract is one optimally standardized (10% polysaccharides) product, delivering 50mg of standardized component per capsules.
    * Optimal Dosing:
    The goal would be 100mg active component daily, so dose at two capsules daily, preferably on an empty or near-empty stomach.


    * Parthenolide, a strongly anti-inflammatory agent, is the primary biologically active agent in Feverfew commonly used for migraine and arthritis, and the focus of considerable investigation as a natural oncotherapeutic and cytotoxic agent in several malignancies including breast cancer.
    * In endocrine/hormonal disease, Rebecca Riggins and colleagues at Georgetown demonstrated that parthenolide restored fulvestrant (Faslodex)-mediated suppression of cell growth, yielding 4-fold synergistic cell growth reduction and apoptosis enhancement (and this may not be restricted just to fulvestrant, but to other endocrine agents).
    * In hormone-negative disease, including and especially TNBC, my own research in epigenetic reprogramming has uncovered parthenolide to be a natural HDAC inhibitor as well as a DNMT inhibitor, properties similar the investigational epigenetic agent vorinostat (Zolinza), so it too may like vorinostat have potential to change or modulate a challenging breast cancer subtype, TNBC, into a prognostically more favorable phenotype.
    * Finally, Yang Liu and colleagues in Peking University demonstrated the activity of parthenolide against cancer stem cells, an activity that curcumin also shares.
    * Dosing and Optimal FormulationThe inclusion of parthenolide into the Edge-CAM regimen is marked provisional solely because we as yet lack decisive dose-finding studies, but extrapolating from the existing preclinical and in vivo data, the target dosing would be hazarded on that basis to be approximately 6 mg of parthenolide content daily. Source Naturals Feverfew Extract delivers 200 mg of feverfew extract per tablet, standardized at 0.5% parthenolide content, so that yields 1mg/tablet, with optimal schedule being two capsules 3X daily with meals, supplemented with at least 81 (baby) to 325mg (adult) aspirin daily as coadministration with salicylates enhances activity.
    * HD-Parthenolide: High-dose parthenolide in special circumstances – higher anti-inflammatory potency for example in the treatment of peritumoral (cerebral) edema in CNS disease to reduce reliance on steroid medication – is feasible and safe: studies have shown that parthenolide is essentially non-toxic, so dosing at levels of 2X to 3X the target 6mg/daily are plausible to determine if greater relief and benefit are attainable. A high-potency formulation is typically needed. One of the most concentrated in Solaray Migra Gard standardized at 0.7% parthenolide content in 350mg Feverfew capsules, yielding 2.45mg of parthenolide per capsule (in contrast to the Source Naturals product delivering 1mg per tablet).

    DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)

    * DHA is a lipid of marine origin, and is one of the two principal components of omega-3 fatty acids (OFAs), with preliminary studies showing both chemosensitization and radiosensitization activities, the enhancement of sensitivity appearing to apply preferentially to aggressive tumor cells.
    * Phillippe Bougnoux and colleagues reported results of a phase II clinical trial in which DHA was added during a 7 – 10 day loading period before anthracycline-based chemotherapy (FEC) and then continued for the 5 months of chemotherapy, in a population of metastatic BC patients with compromised prognosis (68% had liver metastases in addition to other metastatic sites) with rapidly progressing visceral metastases (17 liver, 9 lung patients), along with 15 patients with bone metastasis, 5 with skin metastasis, and one with brain metastasis. The ORR (overall response rate) was 44% with one complete response (CR) and 10 partial responses (PR), and given that there were 11 stable disease SD cases, the clinical benefit rate (CBR) was 88%, with median overall survival (OS) significantly greater in the sub-population of patients with the highest plasma DHA.
    * This clinical trial therefore confirms previous positive findings, and demonstrates that DHA + chemotherapy may improve the outcome of metastatic BC patients, with DHA chemosensitizing tumors.
    * Dose at 1.8 grams/d. Consult for high-quality approved products.
    * Warning: Alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E) appears to abolish the DHA-induced sensitization (chemo- and radio-) of tumor cells, so avoid co-consumption with Vitamin E.

  23. marty says:

    I just wet my pants a little. Snort.

  24. Akum says:

    Happy Birthday!

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