Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, is one of the major cancer types for which new immune-based cancer treatments are currently in development. This page features information on stomach cancer and immunotherapy clinical trials for stomach cancer patients, and highlights the Cancer Research Institute’s role in working to bring effective immune-based cancer treatments to people with this kind of cancer.
Worldwide, stomach cancer is the fifth most common diagnosis in cancer, with almost one million getting it yearly, and it is the third most deadly, with nearly 725,000 deaths. In the U.S., it is uncommon, with more than 26,000 diagnosed with stomach cancer every year, and nearly 11,000 deaths. This represents a substantive change since the very first estimates in 1975, when stomach cancer was the most common cancer. The reasons for this decline are not completely known, but may be linked to increased use of refrigeration for food storage.
The number of people diagnosed with the disease in the U.S. is declining. But in countries such as Japan, where stomach cancer is very common, mass screening of the population has helped find many cases at an early, localized stage, when the 5-year survival rate is 65%. If the cancer has invaded other organs, the 5-year survival rate drops to 5%.
Infection with bacteria called H. pylori is a common cause of gastric cancer. Risk factors may also include smoking and a diet of highly processed or salty foods.
About 90% to 95% of cancers of the stomach are adenocarcinomas. These cancers develop from the cells that form the innermost lining of the stomach. Other types of stomach cancer are gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors and gastrointestinal stromal tumors.