Treatment Name: Temsirolimus (Torisel®)
How does temsirolimus work?
Temsirolimus is designed to slow the growth of kidney cancer cells by inhibiting several mechanisms that the cell uses to grow and survive.
Goals of therapy:
Temsirolimus is given to shrink kidney tumors and decrease symptoms of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), a form of kidney cancer. Temsirolimus is not commonly given with the goal of cure.
- Usual starting dose: Temsirolimus 25 mg intravenous infusion weekly over 30-60 minutes
Temsirolimus is given intravenously (I.V.) on day 1 of each cycle
Temsirolimus is usually given in an outpatient infusion center, allowing the person to go home afterwards. On occasion, temsirolimus may be given in the hospital if someone is too sick.
Temsirolimus is repeated every 7 days. This is known as one cycle. Each cycle is repeated until the drug no longer works or unacceptable toxicity is experienced.
In clinical studies, the most commonly reported side effects with temsirolimus are shown here. Side effects sometimes have percentage ranges [example 34 – 45%] because they differed between in clinical studies:
- Rash (42 - 47%)
- Fatigue (40%)
- Anemia [low red blood cells] (34 - 45%)
- Nausea (33 - 37%)
- Decreased appetite (32%)
- Pain (28%)
- Trouble breathing (29%)
- Diarrhea (31%)
- Infection (27%)
- Muscle weakness (26 - 51%)
- Cough (26 - 35%)
- High blood sugar (26%)
- Fluid in legs (23 - 27%)
- Fever (24%)
- High blood triglycerides (21%)
- High cholesterol (20 - 27%)
- Constipation (23%)
- Mouth sores (22%)
- Vomiting (22%)
- Headache (15%)
- Weight loss (14 - 19%)
- Increased bleeding risk [low platelets] (14%)
Approximately 7 - 16% of patients discontinue temsirolimus due to unacceptable side effects
How often monitoring needed?
Labs (blood tests) may be checked before treatment and every 1-2 weeks during treatment. Labs often include: Complete Blood Count (CBC), Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP), blood cholesterol, blood triglycerides, plus any others your doctor may order.
How often is imaging needed?
Imaging may be checked before treatment and every 8 weeks during treatment. Imaging may include: computerized tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and bone scans.
How might blood test results/imaging affect treatment?
Depending upon the results, your doctor may advise to continue chemotherapy as planned, or delay or switch therapy.
- Premedication with diphenhydramine (Benadryl®) is given approximately 30 minutes prior to temsirolimus. If infusion reactions occur, additional agents such as famotidine (Pepcid®) or ranitidine (Zantac®) may be given and the infusion can be restarted at a slower rate once all symptoms have stopped
- Temsirolimus can possibly impair your body’s ability to heal various wounds. Talk to your oncologist about any planned surgeries and let your surgeon know that you are receiving temsirolimus
- A pharmacist should ALWAYS review your medication list to ensure that drug interactions are prevented or managed appropriately
- Clinical trials may exist for renal cell carcinoma. Ask your doctor if any studies are currently enrolling in your area. If not, go to clinicaltrials.gov to search for other centers offering study medications.
Patient Assistance & Co-payment Coverage
Patients under the age of 65 years, or those with private insurance plans:
If you have insurance and are looking for patient assistance or copay assistance for Temsirolimus (Torisel®), we have provided links that may help.
Visit our Patient Assistance page and click the links to various patient assistance programs for help paying for Temsirolimus (Torisel®). Depending upon your income, they may be able to help cover the cost of:
For Branded medications (may be available for generic medications too), check with the manufacturer to determine if a co-pay card is offered and if it could reduce your monthly copay.
- If you are uninsured, check with the manufacturer to determine if you are eligible to receive medication at no cost.
Medicare and Medicaid patients (Patients 65 years or older):
The clinic providing treatment will likely pre-authorize medications and immune therapies such as Temsirolimus (Torisel®) and are the best source to help you understand drug cost.
- Ask to speak with a patient assistance technician or financial counselor at the clinic or hospital administering this therapy.
What is Emotional Wellness?
Emotional wellness is having a positive outlook balanced with a realistic understanding of current life events. This requires both an awareness and acceptance of your emotions. It is with this knowledge that you can develop a plan to take the necessary actions to positively impact your life.
Emotional wellness uses an ongoing process to continually reflect on the stressors of life in a constructive manner to move forward and create happiness.
Because emotional wellness is deeply connected with physical, social, and spiritual wellness, pursuing it often becomes particularly difficult in times of major illness. Despite this difficulty, working toward emotional wellness has been connected to improved treatment outcomes and a higher likelihood of achieving goals of therapy.
Learn more about pursuing emotional wellness while receiving treatment with Temsirolimus (Torisel®)