Targeted therapy for stomach cancer
Approximately 20 percent of patients with advanced stomach cancer have what is known as human epidermal growth-factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive disease. This means their stomach tumors have a type of gene that stimulates cells to grow and become cancerous.
At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), we test tumors for HER2. If your tumor tests positive, your medical oncologist may recommend the targeted drug trastuzumab (Herceptin®) as part of your treatment plan. Trastuzumab is a monoclonal antibody that targets the HER2 gene, aiming to slow or stop it from triggering the growth and spread of cancer cells.
Sometimes, targeted therapy for stomach cancer causes side effects, like fatigue, which may interfere with your quality of life.
Throughout your stomach cancer treatment, we will offer supportive care services, including nutrition therapy, naturopathic medicine, pain management and mind-body medicine. These therapies may help reduce treatment-related side effects and keep you strong in body, mind and spirit.
Although relatively new as a stomach cancer treatment, Herceptin has been used to treat breast cancer for more than a decade. Most often, it is used in combination with chemotherapy for stomach cancer. But, in some cases, this form of targeted therapy may be used alone.