Introduction: Advanced gastric cancer has a poor prognosis, with a median survival of approximately 12 months. There is a continued need to explore the use of novel treatments for this disease. STAT3 inhibitors are under evaluation in a number of early phase trials, some showing promise in gastric cancer.
Areas covered: This article explores the role of STAT 3 in gastric cancer and highlights some early phase clinical trials on STAT3 inhibition. The STAT3 protein and signalling pathway are discussed. STAT3 in the pathogenesis of gastric cancer is reviewed; pre-clinical data on the role of STAT3 in the development of cancer is presented together with early and emerging data on STAT3 inhibitors under investigation in the clinical setting. In this review, the authors searched PubMed, clinicaltrials.gov and ASCO abstracts on STAT3 inhibitors, focusing on trials recruiting gastric cancer patients.
Expert opinion: Activated STAT3 in gastric cancer is correlated with poor survival. It plays a critical role in regulating tumour growth and metastases. STAT3 inhibitors are emerging as an interesting drug in gastric cancer. However, trials utilising these agents remain in their early phase with one agent currently under evaluation in the phase III setting.
Keywords: Gastric cancer; STAT3; STAT3 inhibitor.