How long for responding to immunotherapy?

Posted By
9/12/2018 7:53am
Replies: 6

Hi friends! How many infusions have you had before immunotherapy started working? As I am aware of, it takes longer than targeted thearpy and each person is different - some respond after the first infusions, while others need more time.

With Keytruda, it took 4 or 5 infusions for me to finally see a stoppage of new brain lesions (my trouble area). The body wasn't checked until at least that many were done, so I can't be certain when that began working for sure. I did have a subcutaneous lesion on my arm that seemingly began to shrink within the first 6 weeks... but it was difficult to tell by feel, as this is akin to watching a child grow and noting daily growth simply by sight. ha! Until there is a big change to note, you really don't know for certain. MEK on the other hand... the subcutaneous lesions and brain lesions shrank and were stopped dead in their tracks within days! Definitely a different time table.

My first immunotherapy was ipi, which I got when you had to do it before getting a PD-1 thanks to insurance. It seemed to be working for me while I was getting it, but my response didn't last long after I was done with the four infusions.

Then I got Keytruda. In addition to nodules in one lung I had visible lesions on my back near my primary site. Those started getting softer and lighter in color after just one infusion. Those, along with nodules in one lung, slowly melted away the entire 20 months I received Keytruda, and my last PET in April 2017 showed none of it was active anymore. Unfortunately what the PET also revealed was that Keytruda had stopped working for me and there was a whole bunch of new stuff in my lymph nodes that Keytruda wasn't touching.

But yeah, some people respond slowly, some quickly. Some have a response that lasts for months or years, some don''t respond at all. Differences in individuals and their immune systems is the most likely explanation.


When I was on Opdivo, the first time, I started to see results about 3 months (6 to 8 treatments). The most noticeable was in the corner of my left eye socket and at it's peak I could see it. I had several additional spots that were very noticeable that I watched fade away. after about 9 to 10 months all of the visible spots had disappeared. It was a slow process but they disappeared one by one, it was very satisfying. I stayed on treatment for about 36 treatments. Unfortunately, the melanoma is back and all internal. From what I am reading, and was not well understood at the time, is if it has metastasized once you are NED the patient should stay on Opdio for an extended period of time (up to a year) or as long as your body will tolerate the treatment.


I believe it starts working right away! I mean Technically am i wrong? The meds in question are designed to teach our immune system that these cancer cells have got to go! I actually felt a burn in my lungs when i first was hooked up with #1 of Pembrolizumab (Keytruda)back in late Nov 2017 ha! I imagined the attack right away!...wishful thinkin'?

Im Melanoma and my host is Mike..

You're right. If it's going to work, seems like it should start doing its job right away. But because of the small scale whatever is going on may take a little while to show up. But I'm not a scientist so I don't know for sure.

I never noticed any noticeable discomfort while Keytruda was working for me, but if you've read my recent posts about adding Rick Simpson Oil to my treatment regimen you may have seen that I commented having a similar feeling to what you described after starting to take it daily. And last week my target lesions were, for the first time, the same size as previous.


I can't say exactly when it started working but I had close to a 50% reduction after my first scan which was I think 3 months after we started treatment. So it was pretty quick.

- - - Never Giving Up No Matter How Hard This Gets - - -

Stage I Survivor Since Aug 2009, Stage IV Warrior Since Apr 2017, #AldrichStrong Since Apr 1983