Las Vegas resident finds success in drug trial

When Las Vegas resident Audrey Marrow felt a lump on her breast four years ago, she immediately called to schedule an appointment at the Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada.

“I told the doctor, ‘I think I have breast cancer,’” the Philadelphia native said. “After he ran some tests, he told me I did, and I totally freaked out.

“He wasn’t supposed to agree with me.”

Dr. Rupesh Parikh, Marrow’s oncologist, said the type of breast cancer she was diagnosed with was triple negative, meaning the cancer had the highest risk of spreading or recurring.

“We treated her with chemotherapy and radiation in late 2014 before she had surgery to remove both of her breasts,” Parikh said.

Marrow said while she hasn’t undergone reconstruction surgery, it’s likely to happen in the future.

“I’ve accepted it,” she said of having her breasts removed. “I’m not going to the beach or trying to look cute.”

Nearly two years after Marrow’s breast cancer treatment was completed, Parikh discovered a cancerous lymph node, meaning her cancer had returned.

This time around, Marrow was adamant she did not want chemotherapy treatment.

“I’ve never been so sick in my entire life,” she said regarding chemotherapy. “I lose 80 pounds, and I couldn’t eat. It was horrible.”

Marrow said she told Parikh he had to find a different way to treat her cancer.

“I felt like chemo almost killed me,” she said. “There would be nights where I would pray so hard for death. I told him to try something else or nothing at all.”

Parikh decided to enroll Marrow in a trial for the new anti-PD-1 immunotherapy drug Keytruda in September 2016.

Keytruda blocks the PD-1 pathway to prevent cancer cells from hiding, so the immune system can detect and fight cancer cells, according to the company’s website.

“There are very little side effects, and she had such a difficult time with chemo,” said Parikh, adding that the drug company covered the entire cost of the trial.

Marrow said the only side effect she experienced while on Keytruda was fatigue.

“I could do anything I wanted,” she said. “I could barely get dressed with chemo.”

Within eight months of taking Keytruda, Marrow said, her scans showed no signs of cancer.

“I couldn’t believe it worked,” she said. “I’ve been 100 percent cancer-free since November.”

Parikh said Marrow serves as an example to other patients.

“She’s truly our poster child for how well she’s done and continues to do,” he said. “She beat the odds and showed how important it is to explore every option out there.”

Parikh said while he plans to continue to monitor Marrow’s lymph nodes moving forward, her scans show no evidence of active cancer in her body.

“She’s in remission,” he said. “I hope that lasts a lifetime, but I don’t know that answer.

“I tell her we’re friends for life.”

Parikh added that he would likely put Marrow back on Keytruda, should her cancer reappear, if it is approved for breast cancer treatment.

Though Keytruda is approved for multiple different cancers, including lung and renal cell carcinoma, Parikh said it hasn’t been approved to treat breast cancer yet.

“Now that the trial is closed, it’ll take about three to five years for the company to evaluate the breast cancer survival rates for those who were on the trial,” he said. “The cancer death rate is dropping, and it’ll continue to drop, because drugs like Keytruda are keeping people alive.”

Cancer medicine, according to Parikh, evolves every six months.

“Cancer Centers regularly participates in new drug trials. In fact, we have 160 active trials currently,” he said. “It’s cutting-edge medicine, and patients don’t have to leave the state to receive it.

“We can do it here in our backyard.”

Marrow said she recommends that people talk to their doctors about everything they’re feeling, especially if something feels off.

“I’m the last person in the world who thought they’d have cancer,” she said. “I found the lump and researched doctors the same night. It’s important to talk to your doctor when something doesn’t feel right, so you catch it early.”

Marrow added that it’s also important to talk to all family members to see if there’s a family history of cancer.

“When the doctor asked me if there was a history of breast cancer in my family, I told him ‘no,’ but there was and I didn’t know it,” she said. “Two of my cousins had it, and I had no idea.”

Now that Marrow is in remission, she’s looking forward to the future, including celebrating her 70th birthday on New Year’s Eve.

“The doctor said I’m not supposed to be here, but now that I am here, I want to let people know they can get through this too,” she said. “If you’re given a second chance, you’ve got to live, so I’m going to.

“I’m not letting anything stop me.”

MAGIC fashion convention showcases men's clothing trends
The MAGIC fashion convention has come to Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center to showcase some of the hottest clothing trends for men. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Army medic’s Afghanistan story told in new book
The graphic novel “Machete Squad” is based on journals written by Las Vegan Brent Dulak.
Las Vegas man talks about losing his wife
Dwayne Murray, 37, lost his wife, LaQuinta while she was at Centennial Hills Hospital. A jury awarded him $43 million last week after it said the hospital failed to perform the standard of care in administering a drug for her sickle cell disease.
Barber sets up shop in grandfather’s old shop
Andres Dominguez’s new barber shop is filled with memories of his grandfather, who ran the El Cortez landmark for more than 30 years. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Life and times of a 90-year-old horse player
Leo Polito of Las Vegas describes meeting legendary jockey and trainer Johnny Longden on the beach at Del Mar. Mike Brunker/Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Learning the history of singing bowls
Presentation at Summerlin Library teaches residents about the history of singing bowls (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learning live-saving techniques in Stop the Bleed class
Leslie Shaffer, an AMR paramedic, shows how to control bleeding during a Stop the Bleed course at the Summerlin Library. The class is designed to teach anyone how to control and stop life-threatening bleeding. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vicki Richardson speaks about on the power of art
Artist and arts advocate Vicki Richardson talks about the power of art to inspire and challenge. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DressCoders pairs tech with haute couture
DressCoders is a startup focused on haute couture garments. The company uses illuminated thread that is washable and can be sewn right into the fabric. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Brava infrared oven
In cooking with the Brava infrared oven,there’s no preheating. the bulbs can reach 500 degrees in less than a second. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sinks Merge Style And Utility
Study could determine cause of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s diseases
Dr. Aaron Ritter, director of clinical trials at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, discusses his research on how inflammation in the brain impacts Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holocaust survivors talk about tragedy and friendship
Janos Strauss and Alexander Kuechel share their perspectives on life. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'Siegel Cares' Santa delivers toys to kids at Siegel Suites in Las Vegas
Siegel Cares, the charitable wing of The Siegel Group, delivered toys to families at their apartment complexes in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Revisiting “Christ the King” sculpture
A longtime admirer of the sculpture at Christ the King Catholic Community in Las Vegas shares her perspective. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terry Fator Christmas House
Arguably better than a hotel holiday display, is Terry and Angie Fator's home located in southwest Las Vegas.
UNLV Winter Graduation Packs Thomas & Mack
UNLV's 55th winter commencement ceremony included approximately 2,146 undergraduate and graduate students who recently completed their studies. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Build-A-Bear comes to Reed Elementary School
Students participated in a Build-A-Bear-Workshop at Doris Reed Elementary School in Las Vegas, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018.
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the LVRJ
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center art depicts names of God
Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center founder Sharaf Haseebullah talks about new diamond-shaped art panels featuring some of the 99 names of Allah at the main entrance the Las Vegas mosque. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holiday poultry with Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine
Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine explain the different types of poultry available for the holidays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Catholic Charities hosts early Christmas meal
Students from the Bishop Gorman High School football and cheerleader team helped to serve food at the Christmas meal sponsored by the Frank and Victoria Fertitta Foundation at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada on Sunday. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Incarcerated Christmas
This is the fourth year HOPE for Prisoners has worked with the Nevada Department of Corrections to create a Christmas for prisoners to visit their families. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2018 Homeless Vigil
Straight From The Streets holds its 23rd annual vigil to remember the 179 homeless individuals who died in Clark County this year.
Getting through the Holiday blues
Psychologist Whitney Owens offers advice on keeping your mental health in check during the Holiday season in Henderson, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military program gave meal kits to 200 families at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10047 in Las Vegas Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. It all started with a chance encounter in a supermarket in Utica, N.Y., near Fort Drum. A soldier, his wife and infant had a handful of grocery items they couldn't afford. A Beam Suntory employee picked up the $12 cost for the groceries. The program has grown from providing 500 meal kits to military families in 2009 to providing more than 7,000 nationally this holiday season.K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women at WestCare Women Children Campus in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Former 51s manager Wally Backman chats about new job
Former Las Vegas 51s manager Wally Backman talks about his new job with the independent league Long Island Ducks during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 10, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing