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Herceptin can treat stomach cancer

Results from an international study show Herceptin significantly prolongs the lives of patients with HER2-positive advanced stomach cancer

Results from an international study show Herceptin significantly prolongs the lives of patients with HER2-positive advanced stomach cancer.

The results, announced by Roche, come from the ToGA study, an international Phase III trial investigating the use of Herceptin in patients with advanced and inoperable stomach cancer.

"Stomach cancer is often incredibly hard to treat, as it is frequently diagnosed at a late stage," said principal investigator Professor Eric Van Cutsem, from University Hospital Gasthuisberg in Leuven, Belgium. He went on to explain that adding Herceptin to chemotherapy offered an important new option to patients with HER2-positive stomach cancer.

The benefits of Herceptin in the treatment of breast cancer have been known for some time and results from the HERA study showing the long-term benefits of the drug were published recently.

"The ToGA study shows for the first time that Herceptin extends the lives of patients in a cancer other than breast cancer. Advanced stomach cancer is a devastating disease for which there are currently few treatment options," said William M. Burns, CEO of Roche's Pharmaceuticals Division.

Stomach cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related death in the world. Herceptin works by targeting and blcvking the function of HER2, a protein produced by a specific gene with cancer-causing potential. Herceptin's mode of action is unique as it activates the body's immune system and suppresses HER2 in order to target and destroy the tumour.

18th March 2009

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