Advances of Molecular Targeted Therapy in Gastric Cancer
Background: Gastric cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related death in the world, and its prognosis remains poor with a median overall survival of 12 months for advanced disease. Advances in the understanding of molecular genetics have led to the development of directed molecular targeted therapy in gastric cancer, leading to improve patient outcomes and quality of life. Discussion: In the treatment of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive gastric cancer, the addition of trastuzumab significantly improves survival in the first-line setting of therapy. Ramucirumab, an antibody directed against vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2, significantly improved progression-free and overall survival and has been approved for second-line treatment of gastric cancer. Anti-mesenchymal-epithelial transition (c-MET), mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors, and polo-like kinase 1 inhibitors are under investigation as a novel therapeutic option for the treatment of gastric cancer. The novel therapies target the key immune checkpoint interaction between a T cell co-inhibitory receptor called programmed death 1 (PD-1) and one of its immunosuppressive ligands, PD-L1. This article reviews molecular targeted therapies in gastric cancer, in light of recent advances. © 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York.