What HER2 in Stomach Cancers Means

Stomach cancers that are positive for HER2 have poor outlooks

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) HER2 stands for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 and is most often seen as HER2. It's a cell protein that stimulates cancer cells to grow. Its presence usually indicates an aggressive cancer.

People who have HER2-positive advanced stomach (gastric) cancer have poorer outlooks than those who don't have the protein.

These patients may benefit from treatment with Avastin (trastuzumab).

"Learn which cancer drugs are available."

A group of researchers in Seoul, South Korea investigated the role of HER2 status in 679 people with gastric cancer who had undergone surgery and chemotherapy.

A number of methods were used to determine whether or not the HER2 protein was present in the tumor tissue of these patients.

HER2-positive disease did have a negative impact on whether the cancer stalled or kept growing (recurrence-free survival - RFS) in people who had higher stage III, IV gastric cancers. This did not appear to be the case with earlier stage I, II cancers

The researchers concluded that the presence of HER2 was indeed an "independent poor prognostic marker for RFS in advanced stomach cancers.

They add that since the drug Avastin has already proven to be helpful for patients who have inoperable gastric cancer, the drug may also be useful for patients with locally advanced stomach cancer.

Findings from this research were presented at the 2012 annual meeting of the Association of Clinical Oncology.

No funding information was provided, but none of the authors declared any conflicts of interest.

Research is considered preliminary before it's published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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Review Date: 
June 27, 2012
Last Updated:
November 29, 2012