Heart question for people on Taf/Mek

Posted By
Christine.P
9/10/2017 11:35am
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Replies: 5

I started Taf/Mek on June 3 and had my first PET scan since then on Thursday. I haven't met with my onc about the results yet, but it looks like the tumors I had are all at least smaller now, which is good news. My question is about a new development regarding my heart. The report noted: 

mild atherosclerotic calcification of the aortic arch

I was aware that a rare side effect of this combo was heart failure, and I have never had any heart problems ever before now. Has anyone else had this kind of development, and, if so, what was the next step? I have also been experiencing some pretty decent swelling in my ankles and feet over the past week. I called my team and they said this wasn't an emergency and that we would talk about it at my appt on Wednesday, I'm just wondering if others have experienced heart issues and what the treatment was for you. 

Thanks!

Christine P. 

Hello Christine. My husband was in Taf/mek earlier this year and has never has heart issues. About 2 months into the treatment, all the sudden he was in constant afib. I asked our oncologist is this could have been due to the Taf/mek. Not sure we will ever know if that was the cause. It was just too much of a coincidence not to question it. 

 

I had some rapid heart rate issues after being on MEK (I was only on MEK... no other BRAF drug). I was sent to a cardiologist, who found nothing after ultrasounds and making me wear a holter monitor. That was 3 years ago. I still have some minor issues with it when I'm exercising (I've always worn a heart rate monitor when I bicycle... even before the cancer). I haven't been able to nail down a causitive factor for it. When it zips up too high, I slow down... stop if need be... and let it drop to a more normal pace again. I doubt I'll ever really have an answer to what the cause is, or it's relation to MEK... but that is most certainly when it began. 

Since yours was noted on a scan, it's entirely possible that it was an incidental finding by a very attentive radiologist. Have your cholesterol levels been checked? Cancer screening scans may have made for a nice early catch on an unrelated issue that could have become a problem further down the line. Some weird things are seen on CT's that have nothing to do with our melanoma.

From the very first catscan the radiologist noted aorta atherosclerosis.  And initially this was my main health concern until I also had lung mass that turned out to be melanoma.  This was a condition I had that had nothing to do with melanoma.  When i went back to my GP due to the xray  report she said we all get this as we get older.  I didn't follow thru due to the other diagnosis.  Swellling in feet and ankles, do you have water retention?  Get off all salty foods.  And yes get your cholesterol checked. 

From the very first catscan  , or was it the xray. the radiologist noted aorta  arteriosclerosis. And initially this was my main health concern until I also had lung mass that turned out to be melanoma.  This was a condition I had that had nothing to do with melanoma.  When i went back to my GP due to the xray  report she said we all get this as we get older.  I didn't follow thru due to the other diagnosis.  Swellling in feet and ankles, do you have water retention?  Get off all salty foods.  And yes get your cholesterol checked. I was pprescribed statins years ago but because i was borderline high i chose not to take it due to reading it is not good for your liver.  I had just started to take it after this test, but quit when my liver ast/alt is elevated per oncologists orders.  

 

Thanks, everyone. I'll be getting my cholesterol checked and also checked for diabetes. My oncologist says these things can be there for years but they aren't always noted in the PET scan notes. Since the first time it was noted in mine was 3 months after starting Taf/Mek, I thought they had to be connected. Guess not!

Christine P.