Despite stomach cancer is the second most common cancer globally; only around 5% of Germans are affected by it. This type of cancer generally finds its root in the glandular cells of the stomach's mucous membrane. Often the terms adenocarcinoma of the stomach and carcinoma of the stomach are used interchangeably. Far rarer forms of the disease which also find their origins in the stomach's mucous membrane include adenosquamous carcinoma and undifferentiated carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Risk factors include a family history of the disease, nitrate and nitrite-rich diets, and cigarette smoking. Furthermore, (chronic) infections by the Helicobacter pylori also contribute significantly to the onset of stomach cancer.

Just as in cases of colorectal cancer, diagnosis of stomach cancer is often only carried out at a later stage as the disease generally produces no symptoms in its early stages. Even with the onset of the first complaints, such as frequent nausea, persistent loss of appetite and stomach pains, the complaints are not very specific.

maintrac® for stomach cancer (carcinoma of the stomach)

Primary therapy often involves the surgical resection of the affected areas of the stomach, whereby very small stomach tumors can be removed endoscopically. In advanced-stage cancer, both neoadjuvant and adjuvant chemotherapy types can be employed to complement this treatment. maintrac® can be useful both before and during treatment for testing the effectiveness of the therapy.

Tracking cell-count progression over time with maintrac® can also give an indication of whether cancer has returned. If this is the case, further examinations are recommended and a new therapy can be introduced if needed.

If the stomach cancer has already spread to other organs and has formed metastases, chemotherapy may be used to try to reduce the size of the tumor, or hold back tumor growth for as long as possible. In addition to monitoring therapy, maintrac® can be applied to test drugs before use in treatment, for patients in a metastatic situation.

Identifying therapy-relevant characteristics with maintrac® through analysis of circulating tumor cells allows to select targeted therapies which will inhibit the growth of tumor cells.

  • As in the case of breast cancer, a HER2/neu overexpression can also be found in the case of stomach cancer. These tumors can therefore also be precisely treated with the antibody Trastuzumab (Herceptin). Usually, the HER2/neu status is assessed through biopsy or resection of the primary tumor. If the primary tumor has already been surgically removed, this HER2/neu status can be determined through analysis of circulating tumor cells.