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28

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

Esophageal Cancer, Version 1.2016

HER2 testing

In normal esophageal cells, there are two copies of

the gene that makes HER2 (

h

uman

e

pidermal growth

factor

r

eceptor

2

)

. HER2 is a surface receptor found

in the membrane of cells

(Figure 8)

. When turned

on, it sends signals within the cell telling it to grow

and divide.

Some esophageal cancers have cells with more

than two copies of the

HER2

gene, thus causing too

many HER2 receptors to be made. Other esophageal

cancers have cells with only two

HER2

gene copies,

but still too many HER2 receptors are made. With

too many HER2 receptors, the cancer cells grow and

divide fast. However, there is treatment if the cancer

is an M1 adenocarcinoma.

Due to high costs and the side effects of treatment,

it is very important to have tests that correctly

show HER2 status. IHC (

i

mmuno

h

isto

c

hemistry)

is the test used to measure the amount of HER2

receptors. Another test of HER2 status is ISH (

i

n

s

itu

h

ybridization). ISH counts the number of copies of the

HER2

gene.

Treatment team meetings

Treatment of esophageal cancer takes a team of

doctors and other experts. It is important that all the

experts involved in your care meet often to make

joint decisions about your health care. NCCN experts

advise that meetings take place every week or every

other week. These experts may include a:

• Pathologist – an expert in testing tissue to find

disease,

• Radiologist – an expert in reading imaging

tests,

• Oncology surgeon – an expert in cancer

surgery,

• Medical oncologist – an expert in cancer

drugs,

• Gastroenterologist – an expert in digestive

diseases,

• Radiation oncologist

– an expert in radiation

treatment,

• Integrative medicine doctor

– an expert in

mind-body treatments,

3

Preparing for treatment

Treatment team meetings

Figure 8.

HER2

Some esophageal cancers consist

of cells with many HER2 receptors.

HER2 is one type of surface

receptor that triggers growth

signals within cells. It is important

to test for HER2 status if the

cancer has spread to distant sites

(M1 stage). Testing will allow your

doctor to plan the best treatment.

Copyright © 2016 National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®).

www.nccn.org

cancer cell

HER2 receptor