Care During Chemotherapy and Beyond
Generic Name: Temsirolimus
Other Name: CCI-779
Torisel is the trade name for the generic chemotherapy drug Temsirolimus . In some cases, health care professionals may
use the generic name Temsirolimus
when referring to the trade drug name Torisel.
Drug Type: Torisel is a targeted therapy. It is classified as a mTOR inhibitor.
What Torisel Is Used For:
Torisel is used for the treatment of advanced renal cell cancer.
Note: If a drug has been approved for one use, physicians may elect to use this
same drug for other problems if they believe it may be helpful.
How Torisel Is Given:
Torisel is given as an injection into the vein (intravenous, IV). The amount of
Torisel that you will receive will be prescribed by your doctor based on established
Important things to remember about the side effects of Torisel:
- Most people do not experience all of the Torisel side effects listed.
- Torisel side effects are often predictable in terms
of their onset and duration.
- Torisel side effects are almost always reversible
and will go away after treatment is complete.
- There are many options to help minimize or prevent Torisel side effects.
The following side effects are common (occurring in greater than 30%) for patients
These are less common (occurring in about 10-29%) side effects for patients receiving
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling in legs and feet
- Low potassium
- Abdominal pain
- Taste disturbance
- Back pain
- Weight loss
- Low white blood cell count
- Generalized aches and pains
- Chest pain
- nail disorder/thinning
- Nose bleed
- Sore throat
- Dry skin
This list includes common and less common side effects for those taking Torisel.
Side effects that are very rare -- occurring in less than about 10 percent of patients
-- are not listed here. But you should always inform your health care provider if
you experience any unusual symptoms.
When to contact your doctor or health care provider:
Contact your health care provider immediately, day or night, if you should experience
any of the following symptoms:
- Fever of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher, chills (signs of possible infection).
The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not an emergency. Contact
your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the following:
- Nausea (interferes with ability to eat and unrelieved with prescribed medication)
- Vomiting (vomiting more than 4-5 times in a 24 hour period)
- Diarrhea (4-6 episodes in a 24-hour period)
- Constipation unrelieved by laxative use
- New or worsening abdominal pain
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Black or tarry stools, or blood in your stools
- Blood in the urine
- Signs of infection such as redness or swelling, pain on swallowing, coughing up
mucous, or painful urination
- Extreme fatigue (unable to carry on self-care activities)
- Mouth sores (painful redness, swelling or ulcers)
- Unable to eat or drink for 24 hours or have signs of dehydration: tiredness, thirst,
dry mouth, dark and decrease amount of urine, or dizziness
Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.
- Before starting Torisel treatment, make sure you tell your doctor about any
other medications you are taking (including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins,
herbal remedies, etc.). Do not take aspirin, products containing aspirin unless
your doctor specifically permits this.
- Avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice (may increase the levels/adverse effects of
- Do not receive any kind of immunization or vaccination without your doctor’s approval
while taking Torisel. Avoid close contact with recently vacinnated (live
- Inform your health care professional if you are pregnant or may be pregnant prior
to starting Torisel. Pregnancy category D (Torisel may be hazardous to the
fetus. Women who are pregnant or become pregnant must be advised of the potential
hazard to the fetus).
- For both men and women: Use contraceptives, and do not conceive a child (get pregnant)
while taking Torisel. Barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms, are recommended.
- Do not breast feed while taking this medication.
- Drink 2 to 3 quarts of fluid every 24 hours, unless you were told to restrict your
fluid intake, and maintain good nutrition. This will decrease your chances of being
constipated, and prevent dehydration.
- You may be at risk of infection so try to avoid crowds or people with colds, and
report fever or any other signs of infection immediately to your health care provider.
- Wash your hands often.
- To help treat/prevent mouth sores, use a soft toothbrush, and rinse three times
a day with 1 teaspoon of baking soda mixed with 8 ounces of water.
- Use an electric razor and a soft toothbrush to minimize bleeding.
- Avoid contact sports or activities that could cause injury.
- To reduce nausea, take anti-nausea medications as prescribed by your doctor, and
eat small, frequent meals.
- Follow regimen of anti-diarrhea medication as prescribed by your health care professional.
- Eat foods that may help reduce diarrhea (see
managing side effects - diarrhea ).
- Avoid sun exposure. Wear SPF 15 (or higher) sun block and protective clothing.
- In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be kept to a minimum or avoided
completely. You should discuss this with your doctor.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Maintain good nutrition.
- If you experience symptoms or side effects, be sure to discuss them with your health
care team. They can prescribe medications and/or offer other suggestions that are
effective in managing such problems.
Monitoring and Testing:
You will be checked regularly by your health care professional while you are taking
Torisel, to monitor side effects and check your response to therapy. Periodic blood
work to monitor your complete blood count (CBC) as well as the function of other
organs (such as your kidneys and liver) will also be ordered by your doctor.
How Torisel Works:
Targeted therapy is
the result of about 100 years of research dedicated to understanding the differences
between cancer cells and normal cells. To date, cancer treatment has focused
primarily on killing rapidly dividing cells because one feature of cancer cells
is that they divide rapidly. Unfortunately, some of our normal cells divide
rapidly too, causing multiple side effects.
Targeted therapy is about identifying other features of cancer cells. Scientists
look for specific differences in the cancer cells and the normal cells. This
information is used to create a targeted therapy to attack the cancer cells without
damaging the normal cells, thus leading to fewer side effects. Each type of
targeted therapy works a little bit differently but all interfere with the ability
of the cancer cell to grow, divide, repair and/or communicate with other cells.
There are different types of targeted therapies, defined in three broad categories.
Some targeted therapies focus on the internal components and function of the cancer
cell. The targeted therapies use small molecules that can get into the cell
and disrupt the function of the cells, causing them to die. There are several
types of targeted therapy that focus on the inner parts of the cells.
Other targeted therapies target receptors that are on the outside of the cell. Antiangiogenesis
inhibitors target the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the cells, ultimately
causing the cells to starve.
Research continues to identify which cancers may be best treated with targeted
therapies and to identify additional targets for more types of cancer.
Torisel is an inhibitor of mTOR. mTOR inhibition blocks the translation of
genes that regulate cancer cell proliferation. It also results in reduced
levels of certain cell growth factors involved in the development of new blood vessels,
such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).
Note: We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional
about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained
in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute
for medical advice.
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