Majority of Physicians Using Herceptin as Key Therapy for Gastric Cancer, But Satisfaction With Treatment Options Remains

Unmet needs in market remain wide open; only one-fifth of physicians report being “truly satisfied” with current gastric cancer therapies

BASEL, Switzerland--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- In just over a month following the FDA’s October 2010 approval of Roche’s Herceptin for HER2-positive metastatic gastric cancer, more than 80 percent of U.S. physicians report using the drug, according to new research by GfK HealthCare. However, the research study also shows that physicians are not truly satisfied with current treatment options for gastric cancer, including Herceptin.

According to GfK Research Matters’ (a subsidiary of GfK HealthCare) 2010 Gastric Cancer Treatment Tracker, 25 percent of physicians began using Herceptin for treatment of gastric cancer following FDA approval; about 60 percent of physicians began using Herceptin prior to approval; and, finally, the remaining 15 percent of physicians will consider using Herceptin for this indication from 2011 on.

However, up against the reported widespread use of Herceptin, physicians participating in GfK’s research study also expressed a high unmet need present in first-line treatment options for metastatic gastric cancer, including Herceptin. Less than 20 percent of physicians said they were “truly satisfied” with the outcomes of therapies currently on the market, pointing to major opportunities for pharmaceutical manufacturers in this treatment area.

“These results are surprising, especially when compared with satisfaction seen in other dynamic and difficult-to-treat indications, such as non-small cell lung cancer,” said Petra Maertens, director of oncology syndicated studies for GfK HealthCare. “The next wave of the study, to be conducted at the end of this year, will hopefully show that once oncologists have gained more experience with Herceptin, some of the current unmet needs will be fulfilled.”

More Than 100 Oncologists Provide Insights Into Gastric Cancer

Reflecting insights from 102 U.S. oncologists and hematologists/oncologists, fielded via Internet questionnaire in December 2010, GfK Research Matters’ 2010 Gastric Cancer Treatment Tracker provides analysis and insights into the gastric cancer market from the perspective of treating oncologists and gives answers to why physicians treat gastric cancer patients the way they do. The study researches the dynamics of the current treatment of gastric cancer, while also tracking the changing use and likely potential use of different treatments (and specific brands).

About GfK HealthCare/GfK Research Matters

GfK Research Matters is part of GfK HealthCare (, the largest provider of fully integrated custom health care marketing research in the world. With the broadest range of custom and syndicated research offerings as well as innovative proprietary approaches to meet a product’s needs across its life cycle, GfK HealthCare offers flexible marketing research resources, responsive to clients’ evolving challenges. GfK HealthCare is part of the Custom Research sector within the GfK Group (, which offers the fundamental knowledge that industry, retailers, services companies and the media need to make market decisions. GfK delivers a comprehensive range of information and consultancy services in the three business sectors of Custom Research, Retail and Technology and Media. The No. 4 market research organization worldwide operates in more than 100 countries and employs over 10,000 staff. In 2010, the GfK Group’s sales amounted to EUR 1.29 billion.


GfK HealthCare
Jessica Makovsky
VP Global Communications
[email protected]

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INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Health  Biotechnology  Oncology  Pharmaceutical