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Critical appraisal of trastuzumab in treatment of advanced stomach cancer

Authors Judith Meza-Junco, Heather-Jane Au, Michael B Sawyer

Published 3 March 2011 Volume 2011:3 Pages 57—64


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Peer reviewer comments 3

Judith Meza-Junco, Heather-Jane Au, Michael B Sawyer
Department of Oncology, Cross Cancer Institute, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Abstract: Advanced or metastatic gastric cancer constitutes the majority of patients in clinical practice. In North America, about 70% of cases are advanced or metastatic when diagnosed, which is higher than the 50% reported in Japan. This difference in presentation is reflected in 5-year overall survival, which is about 20% in North America and 40%–60% in Japan. Despite numerous efforts of randomized studies on advanced gastric cancer, no globally accepted standard regimen has yet been established. Systemic chemotherapy provides palliation and prolongs survival, but the prognosis remains poor. Several monotherapies and combined regimens are currently available and vary around the world. Additionally, several molecular targeting agents are under evaluation in international randomized studies. Human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER-2) is overexpressed or amplified in approximately 22% of patients with gastric cancer. Trastuzumab, a recombinant humanized anti-HER-2 monoclonal antibody, is the first biological therapy that has showed a survival improvement by nearly three months (reduced risk of death by 26%). Therefore, trastuzumab in combination with cisplatin is a reasonable treatment option for patients with advanced gastric cancer who are HER-2 positive. This paper will focus on trastuzumab, its chemical and pharmacological characteristics, and the relevant efficacy, safety, and tolerability studies.

Keywords: gastric cancer, HER-2, trastuzumab

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Metastatic gastric cancer – focus on targeted therapies

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