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Magdalena Atristain, Stage IV Urothelial Cancer

Comprehensive Cancer Centers is committed to offering groundbreaking research to its patients. In this Research Spotlight, learn how Magdalena’s metastatic cancer is now in remission thanks to a groundbreaking clinical trial.

The 70-year-old Los Angeles native, long-time resident of Mexico, mother of two and grandmother of two came to the U.S. from Mexico in 2018 to take care of her parents, now ages 95 and 97.

In March 2020, as pandemic-induced shutdowns impacted travel everywhere, Magdalena was unable to leave the United States. Shortly after, she started bleeding, but thought it was just a urinary infection until it reoccurred.

Amid the strict pandemic environment and after numerous doctor visits, she was finally able to book an appointment with a urologist in August 2020.

Her urologist found a large tumor growing in her left kidney and surgically removed it but was unable to remove the tumor completely. After her surgery, additional tumors were found in the lymph nodes and abdominal cavity.

Her urologist recommended that she find an oncologist. It was her son, Arturo, who ultimately helped her connect with Dr. Oscar B. Goodman, Jr. at Comprehensive and was diagnosed with metastatic urothelial cancer. With Dr. Goodman’s guidance, Magdalena explored options to treat her metastatic urothelial cancer.

It just so happened that a trial for her specific type of cancer had recently opened up at Comprehensive. Magdalena agreed to go on a clinical research trial and Dr. Goodman immediately enrolled her on the Phase III trial of enfortumab vedotin in combination with pembrolizumab. Since December 2020, she has received the treatment intravenously – or via an IV – upwards of four times per month.

Thus far, the treatment has worked absolute wonders. Magdalena is so thankful for her care team at Comprehensive, which not only includes Dr. Goodman, but also his clinical research coordinator, Michael Hixon.

Her tumor has shrunk, she has gained back weight and she is now in remission. At first, she experienced very mild side effects, but is now back to doing what she loves. In her free time, she is walking, doing yoga, taking her dog for walks and spending quality time with her grandchildren.

Today, her sister is helping take care of her parents. And, she says she couldn’t have gotten to where she is now without Dr. Goodman and the help of her kids, Lena and Arturo. To her kids and so many, Magdalena has been a pure inspiration.

“She is very resilient, and I am super-proud of how Mom has handled everything,” said Lena. “I was scared in the beginning, but after meeting Dr. Goodman and seeing how well she is doing now, I am so grateful for everything.”

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