Herceptin treatment known as Trastuzumab is a chemotherapy agent used in stomach cancer patients. The drug is normally administered every 1 to 3 weeks and can be given in combination with other medicines.
You will be given a plan outlining the medication, the side effects and the regimen length, but this might be adjusted according to response.
This is a designer drug, created specifically to target a receptor seen on certain cancer cells.
It was developed from murine antibodies from mice that have been humanised to reduce risk of allergy.
It is a monoclonal antibody that attaches itself to a protein known as human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 or HER2 receptors.
This protein promotes cell growth and division, blocking the receptor arrests growth and prevents division resulting in apoptosis or cell death.
These HER2 receptors are very specific and can be found on approximately 22% of stomach adenocarcinomas as well as some breast cancers too.
It comes as a powder and is reconstituted to a clear to light yellow liquid infusate.
This drug is administered as an infusion in to your vein or central line over 30 to 90 minutes and is generally well tolerated.
Allergy to the antibody can occur on administration and you will be monitored for this.
Avoid pregnancy as the drug can cause birth defects. Use of contraception in both males and females is advised whilst on this therapy.
It is important to monitor for potential chemotherapy side effects and inform your oncologist immediately if you develop fever or symptoms of infection.
The drug can reduce the risk of death by 26% and extend life from an average 11 months to 16 months.
Herceptin is quite well tolerated and may be used either on its own or as combination therapy for stomach cancer therapy.