2016-Year in Review: Advances in Management of Gastric & Esophageal Cancer

Advances in the management of stomach (gastric), and esophageal cancer have been slow.

Each year in the United States, more than 17,000 people are diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus and more than 15,000 die of the disease. Gastric cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Overall, the 5-year survival rate for patients with gastric cancer is 30%. However, once the cancer has spread from the stomach to distant sites in the body, the 5-year survival rate drops to 5%, indicating the need for novel treatment options.

Fortunately there were significant advances in the management of gastric, and esophageal cancer in 2016 as a result of the development of novel personalized precision medicines and immunotherapies directed at the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), PD-1, and other targets.

New testing guidelines were agreed to for gastric and gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma by several leading cancer organizations because testing for HER2 may help identify individual patients who could benefit from targeted therapy with the anti-HER2 monoclonal antibody Herceptin®, (trastuzumab).

Opdivo (nivolumab) is a targeted immunotherapy already approved for the treatment of several different types of cancers. Opdivo belongs to a new class of medicines called PD-1 inhibitors that have generated great excitement for their ability to help the immune system recognize and attack cancer. PD-1 is a protein that inhibits certain types of immune responses, allowing cancer cells to evade an attack by certain immune cells. Drugs that block the PD-1 pathway enhance the ability of the immune system to fight cancer.

Another novel agent, IMAB362, also stimulates the immune system to attack a certain protein expressed by many stomach cancer cells, and has demonstrated a significant improvement in survival compared to standard therapy. Opdivo is likely to be available soon and IMAB36s is still in clinical trials.

CancerConnect News coverage of advances in the management of gastric and esophageal cancer included the following key developments in 2016:

2016 Gastric & Esophageal Cancer Research News

Other 2016 Gastric & Esophageal Cancer News

Learning More About Gastric/Esophageal Cancer

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