NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Esophageal Cancer, Version 1.2016
Overview of cancer treatments Targeted therapy | Clinical trials
Cell growth is started by growth signals. HER2 is one
of the surface receptors in esophageal cancer cells
that can trigger growth signals. When HER2 attaches
to other receptors, the chemical pathway that sends
growth signals is turned on.
Some people with esophageal cancer have too many
HER2s. With too many HER2s, new cancer cells form
quickly. Trastuzumab is a medicine used to stop the
growth signals from HER2s.
Trastuzumab attaches to the end of HER2 that is
outside of the cell. In doing so, it stops HER2 from
attaching to other surface receptors.
See Figure 15
No growth signals are started.
Trastuzumab is given with chemotherapy. It is given
as an injection into a vein. The drug then travels in
the bloodstream to treat cancer throughout the body.
You may have a mild flu-like response to the first dose
of trastuzumab that includes fever, chills, headache,
muscle aches, and nausea. This response is less
common with the second and third doses. Rare side
effects include damage to the heart or lungs.
New tests and treatments aren’t offered to the
public as soon as they’re made. They first need to
be studied. A clinical trial is a type of research that
studies a test or treatment.
Clinical trials study how safe and helpful tests and
treatments are. When found to be safe and helpful,
they may become tomorrow’s standard of care.
Because of clinical trials, the tests and treatments in
this book are now widely used to help people with
esophageal cancer. Future tests and treatments that
may have better results than today’s treatments will
depend on clinical trials.
HER2 targeted therapy
Some esophageal cancers
consist of cancer cells with too
many HER2s. HER2s trigger
growth signals with cancer
cells. Trastuzumab blocks HER2
from attaching to other surface
receptors and starting growth
Copyright © 2016 National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®).www.nccn.org