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44

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

Stomach Cancer, Version 1.2016

4

Overview of cancer treatments Targeted therapy

HER2 pathway

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

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.

Figure 15.

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

growth signals.

cancer cell

trastuzumab

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

www.nccn.org