You should know that HER2+ stomach cancer and gastroesophageal junction (GeJ) cancer are aggressive.
HER2 are proteins found on cell surfaces. HER2+ means that stomach cancer cells have too many HER2 receptors on their surfaces. These receptors send signals that cause cells to grow and divide faster, creating more HER2+ cancer cells.
There are two types of tests used for detection of HER2+ gastric cancer:
- FISH (Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization)
- IHC (ImmunoHistoChemistry)
Although this cancer is rare, 22% of stomach cancers are of the HER2+ type. Upon diagnosis of stomach cancer, a healthcare provider should determine how to proceed with treatment for HER2+.
Healthcare providers may choose to treat HER2+ gastric cancer with a drug called Herceptin, which specifically targets HER2+. Herceptin is currently approved in metastatic gastric cancer only.