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CAP, ASCP, ASCO Release New HER2 Testing Draft Guidelines for Gastric Cancer

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) — The College of American Pathologists (CAP), the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) today announced new draft guidelines for the clinical use of HER2 to test patients for gastric or gastroesophageal cancer, and have invited comment from the public.

The recommendations — which are open for discussion until Jan. 11, 2016 — will help establish standards for HER2 testing, and are meant to help clinicians interpret test results more accurately and determine whether to use HER2 targeted therapies for their patients, the organizations said in a statement.

CAP, ASCP, and ASCO have asked that all stakeholders — from oncologists and pathologists to nurses, hospital administrators, and patients — provide their feedback on the draft guidelines.

"This will be the first comprehensive guideline for HER2 testing in gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma produced by these three organizations with national and international expert input after an exhaustive literature review," Angela Bartley, a molecular genetic and gastrointestinal pathologist at St. Joseph Mercy Health System, and a CAP representative, said in a statement. "We would like the public to comment on the recommendations with the knowledge that the final recommendations will be included in a peer-reviewed manuscript with the rationale and evidence."

Studies have shown that approximately 22 percent of gastric and gastroesophageal junction cancers overexpress HER2, according to the statement. But there are no evidence-based guidelines yet for HER2 testing in gastric cancer, such as there are for breast cancer.

"This guideline is important for ensuring that gastric and esophageal adenocarcinomas are appropriately tested for determining patient eligibility for HER2-targeted therapy," said Vanderbilt University Medical Center pathologist and ASCP representative Kay Washington in a statement. "It will help improve patient care by ensuring that only patients likely to benefit from HER2-directed therapy are treated with trastuzumab."

CAP, ASCP, and ASCO aim to publish the final guidelines in the first half of 2016.