The Improvisational Oncologist - The New York Times

This is a very good article: The Improvisational Oncologist, in the New York Times:

I'm wondering about this section where it says that cancer cells depend on cholesterol and high dosages of Lipitor could be effective." Insurance will not pay for “off-label” uses of medicines: It isn’t easy to convince an insurance company that you intend to use Lipitor to treat a woman with pre-leukemia — not because she has high cholesterol but because the cancer cells depend on cholesterol metabolism for their growth (in one study of a leukemia subtype, the increasing cells were highly dependent on cholesterol, suggesting that high doses of Lipitor-like drugs might be an effective treatment)." Has anyone heard of this. I will be asking my oncologist in July when I go for my yearly blood test. I'm still on watch and wait.

Thank you.

(Thanks for posting this - I had this on my review list for a possible post.

I've moved the link to the article into the body of your post for ease of reference by others and replaced it with a title. The NYT article is by Dr Sid Mukherjee, much respected for his excellent book 'The Emperor of all Maladies" about cancer through the ages - including how central the role was of the study of leukaemias in helping us understand how cancers developed and hence how we could tackle them with chemotherapy. Dr Sharman introduces this article in his latest blog:


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  • I had printed out an article to take to my primary that seemed to say that people with CLL often had high LDLs and that they did better in general on statins. My primary was wondering why my cholesterol was so high in spite of my health habits. This article is a little old but... raises questions/answers

  • Thank you, I will definitely bring up with my doctor. It sounds very promising, and what harm can it do?

  • Statins have been looked at in CLL over the past 10 years. There was a study looking at them, reducing the effectiveness of Rituxan by the Mayo, but this was found to be unfounded...

    Here is a recent Canadian look at statins in CLL

    Cll Topics a few years ago

  • Thank you so much. Very good Information. I will discuss it with my doctor in july, and see what is the latest news on this subject. Now I will lower my cholesterol through diet!

  • Thanks for these articles Chris. Found it all very informative.


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