Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) amplification occurs in approximately 20% of gastric and gastroesophageal junction cancers in the United States and European Union. Lapatinib, a dual HER2 and epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor, has demonstrated clinical efficacy in HER2-amplified cancer cells. However, several studies have shown that some cytokines can mediate resistance to lapatinib using their receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) pathways. One of these, Heregulin1 (HRG1), can confer resistance to lapatinib-mediated growth inhibition in HER2-amplified breast cancer cells, but the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Here, we investigated whether and how HRG1 causes resistance to lapatinib in gastric and gastroesophageal junction cancers in vitro. HER2-amplified gastric and gastroesophageal junction cancer cell lines were highly sensitive to lapatinib. Exposure to HRG1 together with lapatinib rescued cells from lapatinib-induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Downregulation of HER3 with siRNA in the presence of HRG1 re-sensitized HER2-amplified cancer cells to lapatinib. Immunoblotting analysis indicated that HRG1 re-activated HER3 and AKT in the presence of lapatinib, which persisted for at least 72 h. Activation of HER3 and downstream AKT was mediated by residual activity of HER2. HRG1-mediated resistance could be reduced by PI3K/mTOR inhibitors or by complete inhibition of HER2. Thus, we conclude that HRG1 mediates resistance to lapatinib through HER3 and AKT activation, and that this depends on residual HER2 activity. Lapatinib in combination with anti-PI3K therapies or more potent HER2 inhibitors would improve the efficacy and avoid the emergence of resistant cells.