Gastric Cancer

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 803–816 | Cite as

Biomarker analysis of the GATSBY study of trastuzumab emtansine versus a taxane in previously treated HER2-positive advanced gastric/gastroesophageal junction cancer

  • Manish A. ShahEmail author
  • Yoon-Koo Kang
  • Peter C. Thuss-Patience
  • Atsushi Ohtsu
  • Jaffer A. Ajani
  • Eric Van Cutsem
  • Silke Hoersch
  • Marie-Laurence Harle-Yge
  • Sanne Lysbet de Haas
Original Article



Prespecified exploratory biomarker analyses of the phase II/III GATSBY study (NCT01641939) assessed whether patient subgroups experienced a survival benefit from trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) versus taxane therapy, and to advance understanding of HER2-positive advanced gastric/gastroesophageal junction cancer (AGC) disease biology.


Adults with HER2-positive AGC whose disease progressed during/after first-line therapy were enrolled and randomized to receive T-DM1 [Stage 1: 3.6 mg/kg q3w, 2.4 mg/kg qw, or taxane (docetaxel/paclitaxel); Stage 2: 2.4 mg/kg qw or taxane]. Primary efficacy endpoint was overall survival (OS). Prespecified exploratory biomarkers included HER2, HER3, PTEN, PIK3CA mutation status, FcγR, and cMET. Tumor samples from patients who received 2.4 mg/kg T-DM1 (n = 228) or taxane (n = 117) were included.


Median OS was longer in subgroups with HER2 immunohistochemistry (IHC) 3+ [9.5 versus 8.3 months for T-DM1 versus taxane; hazard ratio (HR) 0.99 (95% CI 0.68–1.43)] versus HER2 IHC 2+/in situ hybridization-positive [5.2 versus 9.2 months for T-DM1 versus taxane; HR 1.53 (95% CI 0.94–2.50)] tumors. Trends towards increased median OS were also observed in subgroups with > versus ≤ median HER2 mRNA expression, higher versus lower HER2 gene copy number, HER2 gene ratio and H score, and homogenous or nonfocal HER2 IHC staining. T-DM1 was not associated with superior OS versus taxane in any subgroup.


Patients with previously treated HER2-positive AGC with higher HER2 expression experienced a better treatment effect from T-DM1 than those with lower HER2 expression and may derive comparable survival benefits from T-DM1 and taxane therapy.

Clinical trials registration

NCT01641939 (


Trastuzumab emtansine Gastric cancer Gastroesophageal junction Biomarkers 



We would like to acknowledge all patients and investigators participating in this trial and the central testing and biomarker laboratories (Targos Molecular Pathology GmbH, Kassel, Germany; Aros Applied Biotechnology A/S, Aarhus, Denmark; Genentech, Inc., BRM Operations Handling, South San Francisco, CA). We also gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Tina van Der Horst to all data analyses, and of Dr. Marjorie Green to the design and conduct of the study. Support for third-party writing assistance for this manuscript, furnished by Debbie Briggs, Ph.D., and Rachel Johnson, Ph.D., of Health Interactions, was provided by F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, Basel, Switzerland.

Author contributions

Conception and design: MAS, PCT-P, SLH, JAA, M-LH-Y. Acquisition of data: MAS, Y-KK, PCT-P, EC, SLH, M-LH-Y. Analysis and interpretation of data: MAS, Y-KK, PCT-P, AO, EC, SLH, SH, M-LH-Y. Writing, review, and/or revision of the manuscript: MAS, Y-KK, PCT-P, AO, JAA, EC, M-LH-Y, SLH, SH. Administrative, technical, or material support (i.e., reporting or organizing data, constructing databases): Study supervision: MAS.


The sponsor of the GATSBY study was F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, Basel, Switzerland. F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd was involved in the study design, the data interpretation, and the decision to submit for publication in conjunction with the authors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Disclosure of prior publication/presentation

This exploratory biomarker analysis has not been presented previously. Selected baseline data and univariate analyses have been published in the primary analysis: Thuss-Patience et al. [13].

Conflict of interest

Manish A. Shah has received research funding from Roche, Boston Biomedical, and Merck. Yoon-Koo Kang has acted in a consulting or advisory role for Novartis, Roche, BMS, Ono, Daehwa, and Blueprint and has received research funding from Daehwa. Peter C. Thuss-Patience has acted in a consulting or advisory role for Roche, Lilly, Pfizer, MSD, BMS, and Nordic and has received research funding (institutional support) from GSK and Novartis, and travel, accommodation, and expenses from Roche, Merck-KGaA, and TEVA. Atsushi Ohtsu has received research funding from BMS and a family member is employed by Celgene. Jaffer A. Ajani has received honoraria from BMS, Merck, Lilly, Taiho, and Astellas, has acted in a consulting or advisory role for Lilly, BMS, Insys, and AstraZeneca Medpace, and has received research funding from Merck, Delta-Fly, Gilead, Roche, and BMS. Eric Van Cutsem has acted in a consulting or advisory role for Bayer, Lilly, Roche, and Servier, and has received research funding (institutional support) from Amgen, Bayer, Boehringer, Lilly, Novartis, Roche, Sanofi, Celgene, Servier, Merck-KGaA, Merck, and Ipsen. Silke Hoersch is employed by KOEHLER eClinical and F. Hoffmann-La Roche. Marie-Laurence Harle-Yge is employed by F. Hoffmann-La Roche. Sanne Lysbet de Haas is employed by F. Hoffmann-La Roche.

Human rights statement

GATSBY was conducted in accordance with Good Clinical Practice and the Declaration of Helsinki. The protocol was approved at each site by the local ethics committee/institutional review board. All patients provided written informed consent.

Supplementary material

10120_2018_923_MOESM1_ESM.docx (213 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 213 KB)


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Copyright information

© The International Gastric Cancer Association and The Japanese Gastric Cancer Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manish A. Shah
    • 1
    • 10
    Email author
  • Yoon-Koo Kang
    • 2
  • Peter C. Thuss-Patience
    • 3
  • Atsushi Ohtsu
    • 4
  • Jaffer A. Ajani
    • 5
  • Eric Van Cutsem
    • 6
  • Silke Hoersch
    • 7
  • Marie-Laurence Harle-Yge
    • 8
  • Sanne Lysbet de Haas
    • 9
  1. 1.Division of Hematology and Medical OncologyMeyer Cancer Center of Weill Cornell Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Oncology, Asan Medical CenterUniversity of Ulsan College of MedicineSeoulSouth Korea
  3. 3.Department of Hematology, Oncology and Tumor ImmunologyCharité – University Medicine BerlinBerlinGermany
  4. 4.Department of GI Oncology/GastroenterologyNational Cancer Center Hospital EastKashiwaJapan
  5. 5.Department of Gastrointestinal Medical OncologyUniversity of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  6. 6.Digestive OncologyUniversity Hospitals Gasthuisberg Leuven and KU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  7. 7.Statistics DepartmentKOEHLER eClinical GmbHFreiburgGermany
  8. 8.Pharmaceutical Development Clinical OncologyF. Hoffmann-La Roche LtdBaselSwitzerland
  9. 9.Department of Oncology Biomarker DevelopmentF. Hoffmann-La Roche LtdBaselSwitzerland
  10. 10.Solid Tumor Service, Gastrointestinal OncologyWeill Cornell Medicine/New York-Presbyterian HospitalNew YorkUSA

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