Genentech Medicine Approved in Stomach Cancer

October 20th, 2010

On October 20, 2010, Herceptin® (Trastuzumab) was approved, in combination with cisplatin and capecitabine or 5-fluorouracil, for the treatment of patients with HER2-overexpressing metastatic gastric or gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma who have not received prior treatment for metastatic disease.


Important Safety Information and Serious Side Effects

Important Patient Safety Information

Possible Serious Side Effects With HERCEPTIN

Not all people have serious side effects, but side effects with HERCEPTIN therapy are common.

Although some people may have a life-threatening side effect, most do not.

Your doctor will stop treatment if any serious side effects occur.

HERCEPTIN is not for everyone. Be sure to contact your doctor if you are experiencing any of the following:

HEART PROBLEMS

These include heart problems—such as congestive heart failure or reduced heart function—with or without symptoms. The risk for and seriousness of these heart problems were highest in people who received both HERCEPTIN and a certain type of chemotherapy (anthracycline). In a study of adjuvant (early) breast cancer, one patient died of significantly weakened heart muscle. Your doctor will check for signs of heart problems before, during, and after treatment with HERCEPTIN.

INFUSION REACTIONS, including:

  • Fever and chills
  • Feeling sick to your stomach (nausea)
  • Throwing up (vomiting)
  • Pain (in some cases at tumor sites)
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath

These signs usually happen within 24 hours after receiving HERCEPTIN.

Be sure to contact your doctor if you:

Are a woman who could become pregnant, or may be pregnant

HERCEPTIN may result in the death of unborn baby and birth defects. Birth control should be used while receiving HERCEPTIN after your last dose of HERCEPTIN. If you are exposed to HERCEPTIN during pregnancy or within 7 months of becoming pregnant, you are encouraged to enroll in the MotHER Pregnancy Registry by contacting 1-800-690-6720 or visiting http://www.motherpregnancyregistry.com/ and report HERCEPTIN exposure to Genentech at 1-888-835-2555.

Have any signs of SEVERE LUNG PROBLEMS, including

  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Fluid in or around the lungs
  • Weakening of the valve between the heart and the lungs
  • Not enough oxygen in the body
  • Swelling of the lungs
  • Scarring of the lungs

Your doctor may check for signs of severe lung problems when he or she examines you.

Have LOW WHITE BLOOD CELL COUNTS

Low white blood cell counts can be life threatening. Low white blood cell counts were seen more often in patients receiving HERCEPTIN plus chemotherapy than in patients receiving chemotherapy alone.

Your doctor may check for signs of low white blood cell counts when he or she examines you.

Other Important Information

Before taking HERCEPTIN, you must have a HER2 test to determine if your cancer is HER2-positive. This is because the benefit of treatment with HERCEPTIN has been shown only in patients whose tumors are HER2-positive.

Side Effects Seen Most Often With HERCEPTIN

Some patients receiving HERCEPTIN for breast cancer had the following side effects:

  • Fever
  • Feeling sick to your stomach (nausea)
  • Throwing up (vomiting)
  • Infusion reactions
  • Diarrhea
  • Infections
  • Increased cough
  • Headache
  • Feeling tired
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rash
  • Low white and red blood cell counts
  • Muscle pain

Some patients receiving HERCEPTIN for metastatic stomach cancer had the following side effects:

  • Low white blood cell counts
  • Diarrhea
  • Feeling tired
  • Low red blood cell counts
  • Swelling of the mouth lining
  • Weight loss
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Fever
  • Low platelet counts
  • Swelling of the mucous membranes
  • Swelling of the nose and throat
  • Change in taste

You should contact your doctor immediately if you have any of the side effects listed above.

You are encouraged to report side effects to Genentech and the FDA. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1–800–FDA–1088 or http://www.fda.gov/medwatch. You may also report side effects to Genentech at 1–888–835–2555.

Please see additional select Important Safety Information throughout, and the full Prescribing Information, including Boxed WARNINGS.