Herceptin and Metastatic Stomach/GEJ Cancer
Proven targeted therapy
Herceptin is the first monoclonal antibody therapy approved for the first-line treatment of HER2+ metastatic stomach or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer.
Who is Herceptin for?
Herceptin is approved, in combination with chemotherapy (cisplatin and either capecitabine or 5-fluorouracil), for the treatment of HER2+ metastatic cancer of the stomach or gastroesophageal junction (where the esophagus meets the stomach) in patients who have not received prior treatment for their metastatic disease.
Patients are selected for therapy based on an FDA-approved test for Herceptin.
Stomach cancer overview
Stomach cancer (also known as gastric cancer) is a common cancer. 28,000 new cases of stomach cancer are expected in the US in 2017.1,2
In the ToGA* study (N=594), 22% of patients screened had tumors that were HER2+, a specific kind of stomach cancer.3
* Study that led to the approval of Herceptin in stomach/gastric cancer.
Stomach cancers also include cancer of the gastroesophageal junction (also known as the GEJ), where the esophagus meets the stomach.4
Stomach cancers are often found at the metastatic stage, leading to poorer outcomes. A cancer’s stage refers to how much the cancer has grown and where it has spread. Staging systems help describe the cancer, so that your doctor can decide what treatments will be appropriate.4,5
- Metastatic gastric (stomach or GEJ) cancer is cancer that began in the stomach or GEJ, but has spread to other parts of the body
- GEJ stands for the gastroesophageal junction, which is the place in the body where the esophagus meets the stomach
- HER2+ stomach or GEJ cancer is a type of cancer involving an abnormally high amount of HER2 receptors, which are proteins on the surface of cells that encourage cell growth
Serious Side Effects
HERCEPTIN is not for everyone. Be sure to contact your doctor if you are experiencing any of the following:
These include heart problems—such as congestive heart failure or reduced heart function—with or without symptoms. The risk for and seriousness of these heart problems were highest in people who received both HERCEPTIN and a certain type of chemotherapy (anthracycline). In a study of adjuvant (early) breast cancer, one patient died of significantly weakened heart muscle. Your doctor will check for signs of heart problems before, during, and after treatment with HERCEPTIN.
INFUSION REACTIONS, including:
- Fever and chills
- Feeling sick to your stomach (nausea)
- Throwing up (vomiting)
- Pain (in some cases at tumor sites)
- Shortness of breath
These signs usually happen within 24 hours after receiving HERCEPTIN.
What is HER2+ stomach/GEJ cancer and how is it different?
- Not all stomach/GEJ cancers are the same
- HER2+ stomach/GEJ cancer cells have more HER2 receptors (a particular protein found on the surface of cells) than normal stomach cells
- Too many HER2 receptors send signals, causing cells to grow too quickly.
- In the ToGA study, 22% of patients screened had tumors that were HER2+3
How do I know if I have HER2+ stomach/GEJ cancer and why is this important?
- The following 2 types of tests can help determine HER2 status in stomach/GEJ cancer:6,7
- FISH (Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization)
- IHC (ImmunoHistoChemistry)
- Knowing whether you have HER2+ stomach/GEJ cancer is important because it may help your doctor determine which treatment option is right for you. If you are HER2+, Herceptin may be a treatment for you
If you have any questions about these tests or about your HER2 status, ask your doctor. He or she will determine the best way to find out whether you have HER2+ stomach/GEJ cancer and which treatment option may be best for you.
Important safety information you should know about Herceptin
Be sure to contact your doctor if you:
Have any signs of SEVERE LUNG PROBLEMS, including
- Severe shortness of breath
- Fluid in or around the lungs
- Weakening of the valve between the heart and the lungs
- Not enough oxygen in the body
- Swelling of the lungs
- Scarring of the lungs
Your doctor may check for signs of severe lung problems when he or she examines you.
Have LOW WHITE BLOOD CELL COUNTS
Low white blood cell counts can be life threatening. Low white blood cell counts were seen more often in patients receiving HERCEPTIN plus chemotherapy than in patients receiving chemotherapy alone.
Your doctor may check for signs of low white blood cell counts when he or she examines you.