A trial looking at different doses of Herceptin with chemotherapy for advanced HER2 positive cancer of the stomach or cancer where the stomach meets the oesophagus (gastro oesophageal junction cancer)

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Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

Oesophageal cancer
Stomach cancer




Phase 3

This trial is looking at different doses of trastuzumab (Herceptin) alongside chemotherapy for stomach cancer, or cancer where the food pipe (oesophagus) meets the stomach (gastro oesophageal junction cancer). The people taking part have cancer that has spread to at least 2 other places in the body and has large amounts of a protein called HER2 Open a glossary item.

Doctors can use a biological therapy drug called Herceptin with chemotherapy for stomach cancer or gastro oesophageal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It only works for people whose cancer cells have large amounts of a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). This is known as HER2 positive cancer.

In this trial, researchers want to see if having a higher dose of Herceptin alongside chemotherapy will help people more than the standard dose that is currently used.

The aims of the trial are to find out

  • How different doses of Herceptin affect people with HER2 positive cancer of the stomach or gastro oesophageal junction
  • See if a higher dose of Herceptin stays in the blood for longer and helps people more than the standard dose

Who can enter

You may be able to enter this trial if

  • You have stomach cancer or cancer where the food pipe (oesophagus) meets the stomach (gastro oesophageal junction cancer)
  • Your cancer has spread to at least 2 other parts of your body including your liver or your lungs (or both)
  • Your cancer has large amounts of a protein called HER2 Open a glossary item on the cells – the trial team will test for this
  • You have satisfactory blood test results
  • You are well enough to be up and about for at least half the day (performance status 0, 1 or 2)
  • You are at least 18 years old
  • You are willing to use reliable contraception during the trial if there is any chance you or your partner could become pregnant

You cannot enter this trial if you

  • Have cancer spread to your brain
  • Have already had chemotherapy for stomach or gastro oesophageal cancer that has spread into local tissue or to another part of your body (you can take part if you had chemotherapy for cancer that had not spread, as long as treatment finished at least 6 months ago)
  • Have had surgery to remove all or part of your stomach as treatment for your cancer
  • Have already had a drug that targets the HER2 protein
  • Have already had a platinum chemotherapy drug Open a glossary item
  • Have had radiotherapy in the last 4 weeks (or in the last 2 weeks if it was radiotherapy to treat cancer spread to the bones)
  • Have had major surgery in the last 4 weeks and have not completely recovered
  • Have had another experimental treatment in the last 4 weeks
  • Have a feeding tube or have problems with the upper part of your digestive system Open a glossary item that means you may not be able to absorb drugs you take by mouth
  • Have problems with bleeding in your digestive system
  • Have not recovered from side effects of other cancer treatment unless they are mild (apart from hair loss or damage to your nerves from treatment more than 5 years ago)
  • Have had any other cancer in the last 5 years, apart from carcinoma in situ of the cervix or squamous cell skin cancer
  • Have high blood pressure that cannot be controlled with medication or certain heart problems – the trial team can advise you about this
  • Get breathless or need oxygen
  • Take steroids Open a glossary item unless it is a low dose, or you are only taking them for a short time - you can take part if you use a steroid inhaler
  • Have hearing problems
  • Have low levels of a body substance called DPD – your doctor can advise you about this
  • Have another serious medical condition
  • Are known to be HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C positive
  • Are known to be very sensitive to any of the drugs in the trial
  • Are pregnant

Trial design

This phase 3 trial will recruit about 400 people. It is a randomised trial. The people taking part are put into 1 of 2 treatment groups by a computer. Neither you nor your doctor will be able to decide which group you are in.

People in one group have the standard dose of Herceptin. People in the other group have a higher dose.

You have Herceptin and cisplatin through a drip into a vein once every 3 weeks. You take capecitabine tablets every day for 2 weeks, followed by a week without treatment. Each 3 week period is called a cycle of treatment.

After 6 cycles of treatment, you stop having cisplatin and capecitabine. But as long as you don’t have bad side effects, you can carry on having Herceptin alone for as long as it helps you.

The trial team may ask you to take part in a sub study looking at the amount of Herceptin in your blood at different times. This is called pharmacokinetics Open a glossary item. If you agree to take part, you give a number of extra blood samples before and after each dose of Herceptin. You don’t have to take part in this study if you don’t want to. You can still take part in the main trial.

Hospital visits

You see the trial team and have some tests before you start treatment. The tests include

  • Physical examination
  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Chest X-ray
  • CT scan
  • Heart trace (ECG Open a glossary item)
  • Heart ultrasound (echocardiogram Open a glossary item) or MUGA scan Open a glossary item

The researchers will test a sample of your cancer that was removed in the past, to see if it is HER2 positive.

During treatment, you go to hospital every 3 weeks. You have

  • Blood tests before each cycle of treatment
  • A CT scan every 6 weeks
  • A heart ultrasound or MUGA scan every 3 months

When you finish treatment, you see the trial team between 4 and 5 weeks later. You have a heart ultrasound or MUGA scan 4 times in the following 2 years.

You have a CT scan every 6 weeks until your cancer starts to grow again. During this time, the trial team will contact you by phone every 3 months to see how you are.

Side effects

The side effects of Herceptin include

  • A reaction to the drug causing a high temperature (fever), chills and flu like symptoms
  • Pain – this may affect your tummy (abdomen), chest, throat, muscles or joints
  • Indigestion or heart burn
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Weakness
  • Watery or swollen eyes
  • Runny or bleeding nose
  • Skin rash
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Red and sore mouth
  • Tiredness (fatigue)
  • Cracked nails
  • Swelling in your arms or legs
  • Hair loss

If you have heart problems, Herceptin can make them worse. The trial team will regularly monitor how well your heart is working.

We have more information about the side effects of cisplatin and capecitabine in our cancer drugs section.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Dr Mano Joseph

Supported by

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 9358

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Cara took part in a clinical trial

A picture of Cara

"I am glad that taking part in a trial might help others on their own cancer journey.”

Last reviewed:

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