NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Stomach Cancer, Version 1.2016
Overview of cancer treatments Targeted therapy
Cell growth is started by growth signals. HER2 is one
of the surface receptors in stomach 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 stomach 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. Research has shown
that it slows down growth of metastatic cancer that
has too many HER2 receptors.
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.
HER2 targeted therapy
Some stomach cancers consists 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
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