Published online Jul 15, 2010. doi: 10.4251/wjgo.v2.i7.287
Revised: June 12, 2010
Accepted: June 19, 2010
Published online: July 15, 2010
Although medical treatment has been shown to improve quality of life and prolong survival, no significant progress has been made in the treatment of advanced gastric cancer (AGC) within the last two decades. Thus, the choice of optimum standard first-line chemotherapy regimen for AGC remains debatable, and most responses to chemotherapy are partial and of short duration, with a median survival of approximately 7-11 mo and survival at 2 years rarely more than 10%. Recently, remarkable progress in tumor biology has led to the development of new agents that target critical aspects of oncogenic pathways. For AGC, several molecular targeting agents are now under evaluation in international randomized studies, and trastuzumab, an anti-HER2 monoclonal antibody, has shown antitumor activity against HER-2 positive AGC. However, this benefit is limited to only about 20% of patients with AGC (patients with HER-2 positive AGC). Therefore, there remains a critical need for both the development of more effective agents and the identification of predictive and prognostic molecular markers to select those patients who will benefit most from specific chemotherapeutic regimens and targeted therapies.