Targeted therapy for stomach cancer
This is a type of drug treatment that attacks specific features of cancer cells to stop the cancer growing and spreading.
Learn more about:
- How it works
- Targeted therapy side effects
- Video: What is targeted therapy?
- Podcast: New treatments – Immunotherapy and targeted therapy
HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) is a protein that causes cancer cells to grow. If you have HER2 positive advanced stomach or gastro-oesophageal junction cancer, you may be given a targeted therapy drug called trastuzumab. This drug destroys the HER2 positive cancer cells or slows their growth. Trastuzumab is given with chemotherapy every three weeks through a drip into a vein.
Another targeted therapy drug called ramucirumab aims to reduce the blood supply to a tumour to slow or stop its growth. It has been approved to treat advanced stomach or gastro-oesophageal junction cancer that has not responded to chemotherapy.
Side effects of targeted therapy
Ask your doctor what side effects you may experience.
Trastuzumab – Possible side effects include fever and nausea. In some people, trastuzumab can affect the way the heart works.
Ramucirumab – Possible side effects include stomach cramps, diarrhoea and high blood pressure. Let your doctor know of any side effects immediately.
You may be able to access other new drugs to treat stomach cancer through clinical trials. Talk to your doctor about the latest development ere are any suitable clinical trials for you.
Video: What is targeted therapy?
Watch this short video to learn more about targeted therapy.
Podcast: New Treatments – Immunotherapy & Targeted Therapy
Dr Spiro Raftopoulos, Gastroenterologist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, WA; Peter Blyth, Consumer; Jeff Bull, Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer Nurse Consultant, Cancer Services, Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, SA; Mick Daws, Consumer; Dr Steven Leibman, Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeon, Royal North Shore Hospital, NSW; Prof Michael Michael, Medical Oncologist, Lower and Upper Gastrointestinal Oncology Service, and Co-Chair Neuroendocrine Unit, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Andrew Oar, Radiation Oncologist, Icon Cancer Centre, Gold Coast University Hospital, QLD; Rose Rocca, Senior Clinical Dietitian: Upper Gastrointestinal, Nutrition and Speech Pathology Department, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Letchemi Valautha, Consumer; Lesley Woods, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA.
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