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27

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

Stomach Cancer, Version 1.2016

3

Preparing for treatment

Cancer tests

HER2 testing

In normal stomach cells, there are two copies of the

gene that makes HER2. HER2 is a surface receptor

found in the membrane of cells.

See Figure 8

. When

activated, it sends signals within the cell telling it to

grow and divide.

Some stomach cancers have cells with more than

two copies of the

HER2

gene, thus causing too many

HER2 receptors to be made. Other stomach 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 that targets HER2.

Based on current research, HER2 testing is advised

for metastatic cancer. 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.

Figure 8.

HER2

Some stomach 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.

cancer cell

HER2

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

www.nccn.org