What happens when your body becomes immune to your chemo treatments?

Lacylou asked...

My son has stage 4 liver cancer and just had his 12th session and they told him that his body is getting immune to chemo so now what happens

Expert Answer

Andrew Putnam, M.D. is a Palliative Care physician at Smilow Cancer Center at Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale University.

Cancer cells are not foreign invaders, but instead they are the body's own cells that have lost control and so multiply and spread around the body. Chemotherapy drugs can be effective at fighting cancer, but over time the cancer will develop cells that are immune to that drug. When that happens, it is usually necessary to stop that drug and see if there are other drugs available. Many times there is another drug to try against the cancer. If one after another of the drugs fails, it is possible to run out of chemotherapy options. If there are also no surgical or radiation options, then the focus of care should shift to comfort. Hospice should at least be considered at that point.