Targeted therapies for gastric cancer: failures and hopes from clinical trials

Maria Apicella, Simona Corso and Silvia Giordano _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:57654-57669. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.14825

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Maria Apicella1,*, Simona Corso1,* and Silvia Giordano1

1 Department of Oncology, University of Torino, Candiolo Cancer Institute-FPO, IRCCS, Candiolo, Torino, Italy

* These authors have contributed equally to the work

Correspondence to:

Silvia Giordano, email:

Simona Corso, email:

Keywords: gastric cancer clinical trials, targeted therapies, HER2, tyrosine kinase receptors, immunotherapy

Received: November 16, 2016 Accepted: January 17, 2017 Published: January 26, 2017


Gastric cancer is the third leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide. As surgery is the only curative treatment strategy and conventional chemotherapy has shown limited efficacy -with a median overall survival of 10 months- new treatments are urgently needed. Trastuzumab and Ramucirumab (targeting HER2 and VEGFR2, respectively) are the only targeted therapies approved so far. Indeed, most Phase III clinical trials evaluating molecular drugs in gastric cancer failed. This review will retrace the relevant clinical trials with molecular therapies performed in gastric cancer patients, discussing the possible reasons for their failure and indicating new perspective for a real improvement of the treatment of this disease.

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