An understudied type of cancer receives new attention, with the potential to treat tumours that have spread to other parts of the body Thursday, January 19, 2023 The Canadian Institutes of Health Research recently announced the recipients of the Clinical Trials Fund. The Canadian Cancer Trials Group with study lead Dr Elena Elimova at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre were granted $3,744,953 over 3 years to fund the CCTG GA4 study in HER2 overexpressing advanced gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma. The successful proposal was for the GA4 randomized phase II study of ramucirumab and paclitaxel +/- zanidatamab in HER2 overexpressing advanced gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma. The study will center on those patients who have tested positive for a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). For those with HER2-positive gastroesophageal cancer, in the second line setting a novel type of therapy (zanidatamab) targets the cancer-expressing HER2 protein. CCTG GA4 study lead Dr Elena Elimova from Princess Margaret Cancer Centre “I hope this trial will help to provide a new and potentially better option for patients with gastroesophageal cancers and HER2 positive disease in Canada,”says Dr. Elena Elimova the study lead and a gastrointestinal oncologist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, UHN. HER2 is a protein that causes cancer cells, that may have spread, anywhere in the body, to grow quickly, and as such, this study of the antibody zanidatamab has potential to stop or slow down this process. Researchers believe that zanidatamab may be more efficient at blocking HER2 receptors and therefore slowing tumour growth, or even causing tumour cell death. Early trials of zanidatamab in patients with stomach and esophageal cancers expressing HER2 have yielded very promising results. The current phase II study is seeking to determine whether there is sufficient early evidence that adding zanidatamab to the standard of care therapy for those patients who have become resistant to the current therapy can better slow the growth of their tumours. Gastroesophageal cancer has not had much research attention and despite recent advances, does not have many treatment options. A large number of Canada patients will have access to this trial once it is opened nationally through CCTG.