The breast cancer treatment Herceptin (trastuzumab) has been approved for the treatment of HER2-positive gastric cancer.
The licence extension is based on results of the ToGA (Trastuzumab for GAstric Cancer) trial, which enrolled 594 patients with inoperable locally advanced, recurrent and/or metastatic HER2-positive gastric cancer.
In this trial, trastuzumab plus chemotherapy increased median survival time from 11.8 months with chemotherapy alone to 16 months-representing a 35% increase in overall survival.
Trastuzumab suppresses tumour growth by specifically targeting the HER2 receptor, and should only be used in patients whose tumours have HER2 overexpression as defined on the SPC. HER2 is overexpressed in around 20% of gastric cancers.
Further information: Roche