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1.  EGFR and HER2 Genomic Gain in Recurrent Non-small Cell Lung Cancer After Surgery 
Journal of Thoracic Oncology  2009;4(3):318-325.
Background
Sensitivity to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) and frequency of activation mutations in EGFR is lower in Caucasian than Asian non small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. Increased EGFR gene copy numbers evaluated by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) has been reported as predictor of clinical benefit from EGFR-TKIs in Caucasian NSCLC patients. This study was carried out to verify whether EGFR FISH had similar performance in Japanese patients.
Methods
A cohort of 44 Japanese patients with recurrent NSCLC after surgery was treated with gefitinib 250 mg daily. The cohort included 48% females and 52% never-smokers; 73% had prior chemotherapy and 57% had stage III-IV at the time of surgery. Adenocarcinoma was the most common histology (86%). FISH was performed using the EGFR/Chromosome Enumeration Probe 7 and PathVysion DNA probes (Abbott Molecular). Specimens were classified as FISH positive when showing gene amplification or high polysomy (≥4 copies of the gene in ≥40% of tumor cells). Tumor response to gefitinib was assessed by RECIST for 33 patients with measurable diseases.
Results
Twenty-nine tumors (66%) were EGFR FISH+ and 23 (53%) were HER2 FISH+. Overall response rate was 52%, representing 65% of EGFR FISH+ patients and 29% of EGFR FISH+ patients (p = 0.0777). Survival was not impacted by the EGFR FISH (p = 0.9395) or the HER2 FISH (p = 0.0671) status. EGFR FISH= was significantly associated with HER2 FISH+ (p = 0.015) and presence of EGFR mutation (p = 0.0060). EGFR mutation significantly correlated with response (p < 0.0001) and survival after gefitinib (p = 0.0204). EGFR and HER2 FISH status were not associated with KRAS mutation.
Conclusion
Frequency of EGFR FISH+ status was higher and its predictive power for TKI sensitivity was lower in this Japanese cohort than in Western NSCLC cohorts. These findings support differences in the mechanisms of EGFR pathway activation in NSCLC between Asian and Caucasian populations. Confirmation of these results in larger cohorts is warranted.
doi:10.1097/JTO.0b013e31819667a3
PMCID: PMC3379811  PMID: 19247083
FISH; EGFR; HER2; KRAS; Biomarkers; NSCLC; Tyrosine inhibitors
2.  Phase III, Double-Blind, Randomized Study Comparing Lapatinib Plus Paclitaxel With Placebo Plus Paclitaxel As First-Line Treatment for Metastatic Breast Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2008;26(34):5544-5552.
Purpose
Lapatinib, a dual tyrosine kinase inhibitor of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR/ErbB1) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2/ErbB2), is effective against HER-2–positive locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer (MBC). This phase III trial evaluated the efficacy of lapatinib in HER-2–negative and HER-2–uncharacterized MBC.
Patients and Methods
Women with MBC were randomly assigned to first-line therapy with paclitaxel 175 mg/m2 every 3 weeks plus lapatinib 1,500 mg/d or placebo. A preplanned retrospective evaluation of HER-2 status was performed using fluorescence in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. The primary end point was time to progression (TTP); secondary end points were objective response rate (ORR), clinical benefit rate (CBR), event-free survival (EFS), and overall survival (OS).
Results
In the intent-to-treat population (n = 579), there were no significant differences in TTP, EFS, or OS between treatment arms, although differences in ORR and CBR were noted. In 86 HER-2–positive patients (15%), treatment with paclitaxel-lapatinib resulted in statistically significant improvements in TTP, EFS, ORR, and CBR compared with paclitaxel-placebo. No differences between treatment groups were observed for any end point in HER-2–negative patients. The most common adverse events were alopecia, rash, and diarrhea. The incidence of diarrhea and rash was significantly higher in the paclitaxel-lapatinib arm. The rate of cardiac events was low, and no difference was observed between treatment arms.
Conclusion
Patients with HER-2–negative or HER-2–untested MBC did not benefit from the addition of lapatinib to paclitaxel. However, first-line therapy with paclitaxel-lapatinib significantly improved clinical outcomes in HER-2–positive patients. Prospective evaluation of the efficacy and safety of this combination is ongoing in early and metastatic HER-2–positive breast cancer patients.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2008.16.2578
PMCID: PMC2651098  PMID: 18955454
3.  HER Receptor Family: Novel Candidate for Targeted Therapy for Gallbladder and Extrahepatic Bile Duct Cancer 
Purpose
Biliary tract cancers (BTC) are uncommon in the United States, but are endemic in parts of South America and Asia. BTCs are aggressive tumors associated with poor survival. Activation of HER-2/neu (erbB2) and/or epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) are important in breast, colon, and lung cancers. Tumor specimens from patients from the United States and Chile were examined for expression of HER-2/neu, EGFR, and their activated forms (p-erbB2, p-EGFR).
Materials and Methods
Specimens from 77 gallbladder cancers (GBC), 16 extrahepatic bile duct cancers (EHBDC), 21 intrahepatic bile duct cancers (IHBDC), 11 cases of cholecystitis (CHOLE), and 8 normal gallbladders (NGB) were examined for HER-2/neu, p-erbB2, EGFR, and p-EGFR expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC), with scores of 2+ or 3+ defined as positive. HER-2/neu gene amplification was analyzed by double color HER-2/neu gene/chromosome 17 centromere (CEP17) fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assays
Results
HER-2/neu-positive IHC staining was found in 31.2% of GBC, 31.3%, of EHBDC, and 33.3% of IHBDC; 12.5% of CHOLE specimens showed 2+ staining and the remaining CHOLE and NGB were negative. HER-2/neu gene amplification was detected in 20.9% of GBC, 21.4% of EHBDC, and none of IHBDC. There was a significant correlation between IHC 2+ and 3+ and gene amplification (P =.0001).
Conclusions
HER-2/neu amplification was identified in more than 20% of GB and EHBDC. There was strong correlation between HER-2/neu IHC and FISH positivity. These findings indicate a role for HER-2/neu in some subsets of BTC, and provide a rationale for study of HER-2/neu-directed therapies in this setting.
PMCID: PMC2631213  PMID: 19262900
4.  Estrogen Receptor, Progesterone Receptor, Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER2), and Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Expression and Benefit From Lapatinib in a Randomized Trial of Paclitaxel With Lapatinib or Placebo As First-Line Treatment in HER2-Negative or Unknown Metastatic Breast Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2009;27(24):3908-3915.
Purpose
Lapatinib is a dual inhibitor of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) with activity in HER2-amplified metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Its role in non–HER2-amplified MBC remains unclear. EGF30001, a phase III trial of lapatinib and paclitaxel versus paclitaxel and placebo, demonstrated lapatinib does not significantly benefit HER2-negative or HER2-unselected patients with MBC. Published data support interactions between steroid hormone and peptide growth factor signaling. We hypothesized that molecular subgroups may exist within EGF30001 that would benefit from lapatinib.
Methods
A blinded, retrospective biomarker evaluation was performed using immunohistochemistry to semiquantitate estrogen (ER), progesterone (PR), and EGFR expression. HER2 amplification was determined by fluorescent in situ hybridization. Effects of these biomarkers on event-free survival (EFS) were examined in patients with available tissue (n = 493).
Results
Lapatinib improved median EFS in HER2-amplified, ER- or PR-positive MBC (n = 36; 5.7 v 4.5 months; P = .351); benefit was greater and statistically significant in HER2-amplified, ER-negative, PR-negative MBC (n = 42; 8.3 v 5.0 months; P = .007). In HER2-negative, ER-positive MBC, median EFS improvement varied by degree of PR expression (H-score): no benefit if PR-strong (n = 133; 9.3 v 7.3 months; P = .373), benefit if PR-weak (n = 50; 7.3 v 2.4 months; P = .026), and potential antagonism if PR-negative (n = 40; 3.7 v 7.2 months; P = .004). No benefit was seen in triple-negative MBC (n = 131; median EFS, 4.6 v 4.8 months; P = .255). EGFR expression was not correlated with benefit from lapatinib.
Conclusion
Although subgroups are small, these analyses support the hypothesis that semiquantitative determination of hormone receptor status may be a surrogate for EGFR and/or HER2 dependency.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2008.18.1925
PMCID: PMC2799151  PMID: 19620495
5.  Correlation Between Quantitative HER-2 Protein Expression and Risk for Brain Metastases in HER-2+ Advanced Breast Cancer Patients Receiving Trastuzumab-Containing Therapy 
The Oncologist  2012;17(1):26-35.
The correlation between quantitative human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER)-2 protein expression in primary breast cancers and the time to brain metastases in HER-2+ advanced breast cancer patients treated with trastuzumab was investigated. A strong relationship between the quantitative HER-2 protein expression level and the risk for brain relapse in HER-2+ advanced breast cancer patients was found.
Background.
Patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER)-2+ breast cancer are at particularly high risk for brain metastases; however, the biological basis is not fully understood. Using a novel HER-2 assay, we investigated the correlation between quantitative HER-2 expression in primary breast cancers and the time to brain metastasis (TTBM) in HER-2+ advanced breast cancer patients treated with trastuzumab.
Methods.
The study group included 142 consecutive patients who were administered trastuzumab-based therapy for HER-2+ metastatic breast cancer. HER-2/neu gene copy number was quantified as the HER-2/centromeric probe for chromosome 17 (CEP17) ratio by central laboratory fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). HER-2 protein was quantified as total HER-2 protein expression (H2T) by the HERmark® assay (Monogram Biosciences, Inc., South San Francisco, CA) in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumor samples. HER-2 variables were correlated with clinical features and TTBM was measured from the initiation of trastuzumab-containing therapy.
Results.
A higher H2T level (continuous variable) was correlated with shorter TTBM, whereas HER-2 amplification by FISH and a continuous HER-2/CEP17 ratio were not predictive (p = .013, .28, and .25, respectively). In the subset of patients that was centrally determined by FISH to be HER-2+, an above-the-median H2T level was significantly associated with a shorter TTBM (hazard ratio, [HR], 2.4; p = .005), whereas this was not true for the median HER-2/CEP17 ratio by FISH (p = .4). Correlation between a continuous H2T level and TTBM was confirmed on multivariate analysis (HR, 3.3; p = .024).
Conclusions.
These data reveal a strong relationship between the quantitative HER-2 protein expression level and the risk for brain relapse in HER-2+ advanced breast cancer patients. Consequently, quantitative assessment of HER-2 protein expression may inform and facilitate refinements in therapeutic treatment strategies for selected subpopulations of patients in this group.
doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2011-0212
PMCID: PMC3267818  PMID: 22234627
Advanced breast cancer; Brain metastasis; HER-2 amplification; Quantitative HER-2 protein level; Trastuzumab
6.  Evaluation of the prognostic role of centromere 17 gain and HER2/topoisomerase II alpha gene status and protein expression in patients with breast cancer treated with anthracycline-containing adjuvant chemotherapy: pooled analysis of two Hellenic Cooperative Oncology Group (HeCOG) phase III trials 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:163.
Background
The HER2 gene has been established as a valid biological marker for the treatment of breast cancer patients with trastuzumab and probably other agents, such as paclitaxel and anthracyclines. The TOP2A gene has been associated with response to anthracyclines. Limited information exists on the relationship of HER2/TOP2A gene status in the presence of centromere 17 (CEP17) gain with outcome of patients treated with anthracycline-containing adjuvant chemotherapy.
Methods
Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor tissue samples from 1031 patients with high-risk operable breast cancer, enrolled in two consecutive phase III trials, were assessed in a central laboratory by fluorescence in situ hybridization for HER2/TOP2A gene amplification and CEP17 gain (CEP17 probe). Amplification of HER2 and TOP2A were defined as a gene/CEP17 ratio of >2.2 and ≥2.0, respectively, or gene copy number higher than 6. Additionally, HER2, TopoIIa, ER/PgR and Ki67 protein expression was assessed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and patients were classified according to their IHC phenotype. Treatment consisted of epirubicin-based adjuvant chemotherapy followed by hormonal therapy and radiation, as indicated.
Results
HER2 amplification was found in 23.7% of the patients and TOP2A amplification in 10.1%. In total, 41.8% of HER2-amplified tumors demonstrated TOP2A co-amplification. The median (range) of HER2, TOP2A and CEP17 gain was 2.55 (0.70-45.15), 2.20 (0.70-26.15) and 2.00 (0.70-26.55), respectively. Forty percent of the tumors had CEP17 gain (51% of those with HER2 amplification). Adjusting for treatment groups in the Cox model, HER2 amplification, TOP2A amplification, CEP17 gain and HER2/TOP2A co-amplification were not associated with time to relapse or time to death.
Conclusion
HER2 amplification, TOP2A amplification, CEP17 gain and HER2/TOP2A co-amplification were not associated with outcome in high-risk breast cancer patients treated with anthracycline-based adjuvant chemotherapy.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) ACTRN12611000506998 and ACTRN12609001036202
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-163
PMCID: PMC3621498  PMID: 23537287
HER2; TOP2A; TopoIIa; Prognostic factors; Predictive factors; Adjuvant chemotherapy; Anthracyclines; Taxanes; Breast cancer
7.  Analysis of EGFR, HER2, and TOP2A gene status and chromosomal polysomy in gastric adenocarcinoma from Chinese patients 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:363.
Background
The EGFR and HER2 genes are located on chromosomes 7 and 17, respectively. They are therapeutic targets in some tumors. The TOP2A gene, which is located near HER2 on chromosome 17, is the target of many chemotherapeutic agents, and co-amplification of HER2 and TOP2A has been described in several tumor types. Herein, we investigated the gene status of EGFR, HER2, and TOP2A in Chinese gastric carcinoma patients. We determined the rate of polysomy for chromosomes 7 and 17, and we attempted to clarify the relationship between EGFR, HER2, and TOP2A gene copy number and increased expression of their encoded proteins. Furthermore, we tried to address the relationship between alterations in EGFR, HER2, and TOP2A and chromosome polysomy.
Methods
One hundred cases of formalin fixed and paraffin embedded tumor tissues from Chinese gastric carcinoma patients were investigated by immunohistochemistry and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) methods.
Results
Forty-two percent of the cases showed EGFR overexpression; 16% showed EGFR FISH positive; 6% showed HER2 overexpression; and 11% showed HER2 gene amplification, including all six HER2 overexpression cases. TOP2A nuclear staining (nuclear index, NI) was determined in all 100 tumors: NI values ranged from 0.5 – 90%. Three percent of the tumors showed TOP2A gene amplification, which were all accompanied by HER2 gene amplification. Nineteen percent of the tumors showed chromosome 7 polysomy, and 16% showed chromosome 17 polysomy. Chromosome 7 polysomy correlated significantly with EGFR FISH-positivity, but was not associated with EGFR overexpression. HER2 overexpression associated significantly with HER2 gene amplification. TOP2A gene amplification was significantly associated with HER2 gene amplification. No relationship was found between alterations in the EGFR, HER2, and TOP2A genes and clinicopathologic variables of gastric carcinoma.
Conclusion
The data from our study suggest that chromosome 7 polysomy may be responsible for increased EGFR gene copy number in gastric carcinomas, and that HER2 gene amplification may be the major reason for HER2 protein overexpression. A combined investigation of the gene status of EGFR, HER2, and TOP2A should facilitate the identification of a target therapeutic regimen for gastric carcinoma patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-8-363
PMCID: PMC2613415  PMID: 19061514
8.  Antitumor and antiangiogenic effect of the dual EGFR and HER-2 tyrosine kinase inhibitor lapatinib in a lung cancer model 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:188.
Background
There is strong evidence demonstrating that activation of epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs) leads to tumor growth, progression, invasion and metastasis. Erlotinib and gefitinib, two EGFR-targeted agents, have been shown to be relevant drugs for lung cancer treatment. Recent studies demonstrate that lapatinib, a dual tyrosine kinase inhibitor of EGFR and HER-2 receptors, is clinically effective against HER-2-overexpressing metastatic breast cancer. In this report, we investigated the activity of lapatinib against non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Methods
We selected the lung cancer cell line A549, which harbors genomic amplification of EGFR and HER-2. Proliferation, cell cycle analysis, clonogenic assays, and signaling cascade analyses (by western blot) were performed in vitro. In vivo experiments with A549 cells xenotransplanted into nude mice treated with lapatinib (with or without radiotherapy) were also carried out.
Results
Lapatinib dramatically reduced cell proliferation (P < 0.0001), DNA synthesis (P < 0.006), and colony formation capacity (P < 0.0001) in A549 cells in vitro. Furthermore, lapatinib induced G1 cell cycle arrest (P < 0.0001) and apoptotic cell death (P < 0.0006) and reduced cyclin A and B1 levels, which are regulators of S and G2/M cell cycle stages, respectively. Stimulation of apoptosis in lapatinib-treated A549 cells was correlated with increased cleaved PARP, active caspase-3, and proapoptotic Bak-1 levels, and reduction in the antiapoptic IAP-2 and Bcl-xL protein levels. We also demonstrate that lapatinib altered EGFR/HER-2 signaling pathways reducing p-EGFR, p-HER-2, p-ERK1/2, p-AKT, c-Myc and PCNA levels. In vivo experiments revealed that A549 tumor-bearing mice treated with lapatinib had significantly less active tumors (as assessed by PET analysis) (P < 0.04) and smaller in size than controls. In addition, tumors from lapatinib-treated mice showed a dramatic reduction in angiogenesis (P < 0.0001).
Conclusion
Overall, these data suggest that lapatinib may be a clinically useful agent for the treatment of lung cancer.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-188
PMCID: PMC2883966  PMID: 20459769
9.  HER-2/neu Gene Amplification in Relation to Expression of HER2 and HER3 Proteins in Patients With Esophageal Adenocarcinoma 
Cancer  2013;120(3):415-424.
BACKGROUND
Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) is a therapeutic target in patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC), with gene amplification used as a selection criterion for treatment, although to the authors’ knowledge the concordance between amplification and HER2 protein expression remains undefined in EAC. Furthermore, the association between HER2 and its interacting partner, human epidermal growth factor receptor 3 (HER3), is unknown yet appears to be of potential therapeutic relevance.
METHODS
Patients with untreated EACs (N 5 673) were analyzed for HER2 amplification and polysomy 17 by fluorescence in situ hybridization in parallel with immunohistochemistry (IHC) (IHC scores of 0–1+, 2+, and 3+). Amplification was defined as HER2=CEP17 ≥2. HER3 expression by IHC was analyzed in randomly selected cases (n 5 224). IHC and fluorescence in situ hybridization results were compared using least squares linear regression.
RESULTS
Overall, 17% of the EACs (116 of 673 EACs) were HER2-amplified with an amplification frequency that was highest among IHC3+ cases (89%) and declined among IHC2+ cases (13%) and IHCO to IHC1+ cases (4%). Among HER2-amplified cases, the level of amplification increased linearly with HER2 membranous expression (HER2/CEP17 ratio: 7.9 in IHC3+ and 5.5 in IHC2+ vs 2.8 in IHCO to IHC11 [P<.0001]), with 14% of amplified tumors demonstrating absent/faint expression (IHCO to IHC1+). Polysomy 17 was not found to be associated with HER2 expression. Cytoplasmic HER3 expression was detected in 87% of tumors (195 of 224 tumors) and was found to be significantly associated with better differentiation (P<.0001). Stepwise increases in HER3 expression were associated with higher HER2 expression levels (P = .0019).
CONCLUSIONS
Levels of HER2 protein expression and amplification were found to be linearly associated and highly concordant. Among amplified tumors with absent/faint expression, the level of amplification was low. Frequent expression of HER3 suggests its relevance as a therapeutic target, and its significant association with HER2 supports ongoing efforts to inhibit HER2/HER3 in patients with EAC.
doi:10.1002/cncr.28435
PMCID: PMC3932765  PMID: 24151090
human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2); ERBB2; concordance; fluorescence in situ hybridization; HER2 gene amplification; HER2 expression; HER3/ERBB3; esophageal cancer; esophageal adenocarcinoma; esophagogastric cancer
10.  HER2 gene copy number status may influence clinical efficacy to anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies in metastatic colorectal cancer patients 
British Journal of Cancer  2013;108(3):668-675.
Background:
In metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), KRAS is the only validated biomarker used to select patients for administration of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-targeted therapies. To identify additional predictive markers, we investigated the importance of HER2, the primary EGFR dimerisation partner, in this particular disease.
Methods:
We evaluated the HER2 gene status by fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) in 170 KRAS wild-type mCRC patients treated with cetuximab or panitumumab.
Results:
Depending on HER2 gene copy number status, patients showed three distinct cytogenetic profiles: 4% of patients had HER2 gene amplification (R:HER2/CEP17⩾2) in all neoplastic cells (HER2-all-A), 61% of patients had HER2 gain due to polysomy or to gene amplification in minor clones (HER2-FISH+*), and 35% of patients had no or slight HER2 gain (HER2-FISH−). These subgroups were significantly correlated with different clinical behaviours, in terms of response rate (RR; P=0.0006), progression-free survival (PFS; P<0.0001) and overall survival (OS; P<0.0001). Patients with HER2-all-A profile experienced the worst outcome, patients with HER2-FISH− profile showed an intermediate behaviour and patients with HER2-FISH+* profile were related to the highest survival probability (median PFS in months: 2.5 vs 3.9 vs 7.6, respectively; median OS in months: 4.2 vs 9.7 vs 13, respectively).
Conclusion:
HER2 gene copy number status may influence the clinical response to anti-EGFR-targeted therapy in mCRC patients.
doi:10.1038/bjc.2013.4
PMCID: PMC3593567  PMID: 23348520
HER2; colorectal cancer; EGFR-targeted therapy; fluorescence in situ hybridisation
11.  Adverse Prognostic Impact of Intratumor Heterogeneous HER2 Gene Amplification in Patients With Esophageal Adenocarcinoma 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2012;30(32):3932-3938.
Purpose
There is increasing recognition of the existence of intratumoral heterogeneity of the human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2), which affects interpretation of HER2 positivity in clinical practice and may have implications for patient prognosis and treatment. We determined the frequency and prognostic impact of heterogeneous HER2 gene amplification and polysomy 17 in patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC).
Patients and Methods
HER2 amplification (by fluorescence in situ hybridization) was examined in surgical EAC specimens (n = 675). HER2 heterogeneity was defined according to consensus guidelines as gene amplification (HER2/CEP17 ratio ≥ 2.0) in more than 5% but less than 50% of cancer cells. No patient received neoadjuvant or HER2-targeted therapy. Cox models were used to assess disease-specific survival (DSS) and overall survival (OS).
Results
Overall, 117 EACs (17%) demonstrated HER2 amplification, of which 20 (17%) showed HER2 heterogeneity. All HER2-heterogeneous tumors were amplified. Among HER2-amplified tumors, heterogeneous tumors had significantly higher frequency of poor histologic grade and polysomy 17. In multivariable models that included number of metastatic lymph nodes, grade, tumor stage, and polysomy 17, only HER2 heterogeneity and node number were prognostic among HER2-amplified tumors, with heterogeneity showing worse DSS (hazard ratio, 2.04; 95% CI, 1.09 to 3.79; P = .025) and OS (P = .026). Among HER2-nonamplified EACs, polysomy 17 was independently associated with worse DSS (P = .012) and OS (P = .023).
Conclusion
Among HER2-amplified EACs, 17% show HER2 heterogeneity, which independently predicts for worse cancer-specific death. Among HER2-nonamplified EACs, polysomy 17 is independently associated with worse survival. These novel findings demonstrate aggressive subgroups in HER2-amplified and -nonamplified EACs that have important implications for HER2 analysis and determination of benefit from HER2-targeted therapy.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2012.43.1890
PMCID: PMC3675687  PMID: 22987085
12.  Association of HER-2 Copy Number and HER-2/CEP-17 Ratio with Neoadjuvant Taxane-Containing Chemotherapy Sensitivity in Locally Advanced Breast Cancer 
The Oncologist  2012;17(6):792-800.
Patients with locally advanced breast cancer who had completed four cycles of weekly paclitaxel plus carboplatin as neoadjuvant chemotherapy were evaluated for human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER)-2 status using fluorescence in situ hybridization based on the HER-2/centromere enumerator probe (CEP)-17 ratio and based on copy number to examine differences in these two methods.
Learning Objectives:
After completing this course, the reader will be able to: Compare the clinical value of copy number–based fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) versus HER-2/CEP-17 ratio-based FISH in identifying patients who may benefit from taxane-containing neoadjuvant chemotherapy.Consider the implications of HER-2 copy number and aneusomy 17 when making treatment decisions in patients with locally advanced breast cancer.
This article is available for continuing medical education credit at CME.TheOncologist.com
Purpose.
Aneusomy 17 causes inconsistency in fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)-based human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER)-2 status assessment using different algorithms (copy number or the HER-2/centromere enumerator probe 17 [CEP-17] ratio). We investigated the effects of FISH-based HER-2 status assessment and aneusomy 17 on responsiveness to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC).
Patients and Methods.
This prospective study recruited 152 patients with locally advanced breast cancer who underwent four-cycle weekly paclitaxel plus carboplatin without trastuzumab.
Results.
The pathologic complete remission (pCR) rate in the breast and axilla was 24.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 17.7%–32.0%). Although HER-2 status, assessed by either HER-2/CEP-17 ratio–based FISH or copy number–based FISH, was a predictor of NAC sensitivity, ratio–assessed HER-2 status had a poorer performance in determining patients' responsiveness to NAC (p = .029). Patients who were not HER-2 amplified when assessed using the HER-2/CEP-17 ratio but were HER-2 amplified when assessed using copy number (∼5%) were eventually proven to be responsive to NAC, with a pCR rate of 57% (95% CI, 18.4%–90.1%). In contrast, patients who were HER-2 amplified when assessed by the ratio but not HER-2 amplified when assessed using copy number (∼3%) were completely irresponsive. Higher HER-2 copy numbers represented increasing chances of a pCR (adjusted odds ratio, 3.09; 95% CI, 1.35–7.08), with an apparent gene–dose effect (p for trend < .001).
Conclusion.
It is likely that HER-2 copy number but not the HER-2/CEP-17 ratio determines NAC sensitivity. Additional studies to validate our findings are warranted.
doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2011-0381
PMCID: PMC3380878  PMID: 22561335
13.  HER3 genomic gain and sensitivity to gefitinib in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer patients 
British Journal of Cancer  2005;93(12):1334-1340.
In non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), sensitivity to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) is associated with activating mutations and genomic gain of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Preclinical data suggested that HER3 overexpression increases sensitivity to TKIs. A total of 82 NSCLC patients treated with gefitinib (250 mg), and previously evaluated for EGFR and HER2 status by fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) and DNA sequencing, and for Phospho-Akt status by immunohistochemistry, were investigated for HER3 genomic gain by FISH. Patients with high polysomy and gene amplification were considered as HER3 FISH positive (+). HER3 FISH+ pattern was significantly associated with female gender (P=0.02) and never smoking history (P=0.02). Patients with HER3+ tumours (26.8%) had a significantly longer time to progression (3.7 vs 2.7, P=0.04) than patients with HER3− tumours, but not a significantly better response rate or survival. Patients with EGFR+/HER3+ tumours had higher objective response rate (36.4 vs 9.9%, P=0.03) and time to progression (7.7 vs 2.7 months, P=0.03) than patients with EGFR− and/or HER3− tumours, but no significantly longer survival. No difference in response was observed according to HER3 status in patients with EGFR+ tumours. Patients with HER2+/HER3+ tumours had similar outcome as patients with HER2− and/or HER3− tumours. Significantly different clinical end points were not observed between patients with HER3+/P-Akt+ and HER3− and/or P-Akt− tumours. Genomic gain for HER3 is not a marker for response or resistance to TKI therapy in advanced NSCLC patients.
doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6602865
PMCID: PMC2361531  PMID: 16288303
HER3; EGFR; tyrosine kinase inhibitor; gefitinib; non-small-cell lung cancer
14.  Association of HER2/ErbB2 Expression and Gene Amplification with Pathological Features and Prognosis in Esophageal Adenocarcinomas 
Clinical Cancer Research  2012;18(2):546-554.
Purpose
We examined the frequency, tumor characteristics, and prognostic impact of HER2 protein expression and gene amplification in patients with curatively resected esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC).
Experimental Design
HER2 expression was analyzed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in surgical EAC specimens (n=713). Gene amplification was examined by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) in a large subset (n=344). Most tumors were T3–4 (66%) or node-positive (72%); 95% were located in the esophagus or gastroesophageal junction. No patient received neoadjuvant therapy. Cox models were used.
Results
Overall, 17% of EACs were HER2-positive (ie, IHC3+ or IHC2+ with amplification), with strong agreement between HER2 amplification (HER2/CEP17 ratio ≥2) and expression (κ=.83). HER2-positivity was significantly associated with lower tumor grade, less invasiveness, fewer malignant nodes, and the presence of adjacent Barrett’s esophagus (BE). EACs with BE had higher odds of HER2-positivity compared to EACs without BE, independent of pathologic features (odds ratio 1.8 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1–2.8], p=.014). Among all cases, HER2-positivity was significantly associated with disease-specific survival (DSS) in a manner that differed by the presence or absence of BE (p for interaction=.0047). In EACs with BE, HER2-positivity was significantly associated with improved DSS (hazard ratio 0.54 [95% CI 0.35–0.84], p=.0065) and overall survival (p=.0022) independent of pathologic features, but was not prognostic among EACs without BE.
Conclusions
HER2-positivity was demonstrated in 17% of resected EACs and associated with reduced tumor aggressiveness. EACs with BE had nearly twice the odds of being HER2-positive and, within this subgroup, HER2-positivity was independently associated with improved survival.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-2272
PMCID: PMC3261584  PMID: 22252257
esophageal adenocarcinoma; Barrett’s esophagus; HER2; ErbB2; prognosis
15.  EGFR Gene Amplification and Protein Expression in Invasive Ductal Carcinoma of the Breast 
Korean Journal of Pathology  2013;47(2):107-115.
Background
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a surrogate marker for basal-like breast cancer. A recent study suggested that EGFR may be used as a target for breast cancer treatment.
Methods
A total of 706 invasive ductal carcinomas (IDC) of the breast were immunophenotyped, and 82 cases with EGFR protein expression were studied for EGFR gene amplification.
Results
EGFR protein was expressed in 121 of 706 IDCs (17.1%); 5.9% were of luminal type, 25.3% of epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2) type, and 79.3% of basal-like tumors. EGFR gene amplification and high polysomy (fluorescent in situ hybridization [FISH]-positive) were found in 18 of 82 cases (22.0%); 41.2% of the HER-2+, EGFR+, cytokeratin 5/6- (CK5/6-) group, 11.2% of the HER-2-, EGFR+, CK5/6- group, and 19.1% of the HER-2-, EGFR+, CK5/6+ group. FISH-positive cases were detected in 8.3% of the EGFR protein 1+ expression cases, 15.9% of 2+ expression cases, and 38.5% of 3+ expression cases. In group 2, the tumors had a high Ki-67 labeling (>60%), but the patients showed better disease-free survival than those with tumors that co-expressed HER-2 or CK5/6.
Conclusions
EGFR-directed therapy can be considered in breast cancer patients with EGFR protein overexpression and gene amplification, and its therapeutic implication should be determined in HER-2 type breast cancer patients.
doi:10.4132/KoreanJPathol.2013.47.2.107
PMCID: PMC3647122  PMID: 23667369
Breast neoplasms; Receptor, epidermal growth factor; Gene amplification; Protein expression
16.  Chromosome 17 Centromere Duplication and Responsiveness to Anthracycline-Based Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy in Breast Cancer12 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2014;16(10):861-867.
Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) and topoisomerase II alpha (TOP2A) genes have been proposed as predictive biomarkers of sensitivity to anthracycline chemotherapy. Recently, chromosome 17 centromere enumeration probe (CEP17) duplication has also been associated with increased responsiveness to anthracyclines. However, reports are conflicting and none of these tumor markers can yet be considered a clinically reliable predictor of response to anthracyclines. We studied the association of TOP2A gene alterations, HER2 gene amplification, and CEP17 duplication with response to anthracycline-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy in 140 patients with operable or locally advanced breast cancer. HER2 was tested by fluorescence in situ hybridization and TOP2A and CEP17 by chromogenic in situ hybridization. Thirteen patients (9.3%) achieved pathologic complete response (pCR). HER2 amplification was present in 24 (17.5%) of the tumors. TOP2A amplification occurred in seven tumors (5.1%). CEP17 duplication was detected in 13 patients (9.5%). CEP17 duplication correlated with a higher rate of pCR [odds ratio (OR) 6.55, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.25-34.29, P = .026], and analysis of TOP2A amplification showed a trend bordering on statistical significance (OR 6.97, 95% CI 0.96-50.12, P = .054). TOP2A amplification and CEP17 duplication combined were strongly associated with pCR (OR 6.71, 95% CI 1.66-27.01, P = .007). HER2 amplification did not correlate with pCR. Our results suggest that CEP17 duplication predicts pCR to primary anthracycline-based chemotherapy. CEP17 duplication, TOP2A amplifications, and HER2 amplifications were not associated with prognosis.
doi:10.1016/j.neo.2014.08.012
PMCID: PMC4212250  PMID: 25379022
CEP17, chromosome 17 centromere enumeration probe; CI, confidence interval; CISH, chromogenic in situ hybridization; DFS, disease-free survival; EC-D, epirubicin (90 mg/m2) and cyclophosphamide (600 mg/m2) followed by docetaxel (100 mg/m2); ER, estrogen receptor; FEC75, fluorouracil (600 mg/m2), epirubicin (75 mg/m2), and cyclophosphamide (600 mg/m2); FISH, fluorescence in situ hybridization; HR, hazard ratio; HER2, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2; OR, odds ratio; OS, overall survival; pCR, pathologic complete response; PR, progesterone receptor; TOP2A, topoisomerase II alpha
17.  Alterations of the genes involved in the PI3K and estrogen-receptor pathways influence outcome in human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive and hormone receptor-positive breast cancer patients treated with trastuzumab-containing neoadjuvant chemotherapy 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:241.
Background
Chemotherapy with trastuzumab is widely used for patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive (HER2+) breast cancer, but a significant number of patients with the tumor fail to respond, or relapse. The mechanisms of recurrence and biomarkers that indicate the response to the chemotherapy and outcome are not fully investigated.
Methods
Genomic alterations were analyzed using single-nucleotide polymorphism arrays in 46 HER2 immunohistochemistry (IHC) 3+ or 2+/fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH)+ breast cancers that were treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy with paclitaxel, cyclophosphamid, epirubicin, fluorouracil, and trastuzumab. Patients were classified into two groups based on presence or absence of alterations of 65 cancer-associated genes, and the two groups were further classified into four groups based on genomic HER2 copy numbers or hormone receptor status (HR+/−). Pathological complete response (pCR) and relapse-free survival (RFS) rates were compared between any two of the groups.
Results and discussion
The pCR rate was 54% in 37 patients, and the RFS rate at 3 years was 72% (95% CI, 0.55-0.89) in 42 patients. The analysis disclosed 8 tumors with nonamplified HER2 and 38 tumors with HER2 amplification, indicating the presence of discordance in tumors diagnosed using current HER2 testing. The 8 patients showed more difficulty in achieving pCR (P=0.019), more frequent relapse (P=0.018), and more frequent alterations of genes in the PI3K pathway (P=0.009) than the patients with HER2 amplification. The alterations of the PI3K and estrogen receptor (ER) pathway genes generally indicated worse RFS rates. The prognostic significance of the alterations was shown in patients with a HR+ tumor, but not in patients with a HR- tumor when divided. Alterations of the PI3K and ER pathway genes found in patients with a HR+ tumor with poor outcome suggested that crosstalk between the two pathways may be involved in resistance to the current chemotherapy with trastuzumab.
Conclusions
We recommend FISH analysis as a primary HER2 testing because patients with IHC 2+/3+ and nonamplified HER2 had poor outcome. We also support concurrent use of trastuzumab, lapatinib, and cytotoxic and anti-hormonal agents for patients having HR+ tumors with alterations of the PI3K and ER pathway genes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-241
PMCID: PMC3663661  PMID: 23679233
HER2; SNP array; Trastuzumab; Neoadjuvant chemotherapy; PI3K pathway; Estrogen receptor pathway; Complete pathological response; Relapse-free survival
18.  Lapatinib in Combination with Radiation Diminishes Tumor Regrowth in HER2+ and Basal-Like/EGFR+ Breast Tumor Xenografts 
Purpose
To determine whether lapatinib, a dual epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)/HER2 kinase inhibitor, can radiosensitize EGFR+ or HER2+ breast cancer xenografts.
Methods and Materials
Mice bearing xenografts of basal-like/EGFR+ SUM149 and HER2+ SUM225 breast cancer cells were treated with lapatinib and fractionated radiotherapy and tumor growth inhibition correlated with alterations in ERK1 and AKT activation by immunohistochemistry.
Results
Basal-like/EGFR+ SUM149 breast cancer tumors were completely resistant to treatment with lapatinib alone but highly growth impaired with lapatinib plus radiotherapy, exhibiting an enhancement ratio average of 2.75 and a fractional tumor product ratio average of 2.20 during the study period. In contrast, HER2+ SUM225 breast cancer tumors were highly responsive to treatment with lapatinib alone and yielded a relatively lower enhancement ratio average of 1.25 during the study period with lapatinib plus radiotherapy. Durable tumor control in the HER2+ SUM225 model was more effective with the combination treatment than either lapatinib or radiotherapy alone. Immunohistochemical analyses demonstrated that radiosensitization by lapatinib correlated with ERK1/2 inhibition in the EGFR+ SUM149 model and with AKT inhibition in the HER2+ SUM225 model.
Conclusion
Our data suggest that lapatinib combined with fractionated radiotherapy may be useful against EGFR+ and HER2+ breast cancers and that inhibition of downstream signaling to ERK1/2 and AKT correlates with sensitization in EGFR+ and HER2+ cells, respectively.
doi:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2009.12.063
PMCID: PMC2976524  PMID: 20457354
Breast cancer; epidermal growth factor receptor; HER2; radiosensitization; lapatinib
19.  Fluorescence In situ Hybridization Subgroup Analysis of TRIBUTE, a Phase III Trial of Erlotinib Plus Carboplatin and Paclitaxel in Non – Small Cell Lung Cancer 
Clinical Cancer Research  2008;14(19):6317-6323.
Purpose
TRIBUTE was a phase III trial evaluating the addition of erlotinib to carboplatin and paclitaxel as a first-line treatment for advanced non – small cell lung cancer that did not meet its primary end point of improving overall survival. Here, we assess the value of using epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene copy number in tumor biopsy samples, as determined by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), as a predictor of treatment outcome.
Methods
EGFR FISH analysis was done using LSI EGFR SpectrumOrange/CEP7 Spectrum-Green probe.
Results
Of 275 samples, 245 (89.1%) were successfully analyzed by FISH. One hundred (40.8%) of patients were EGFR FISH(+). Median overall survival was not different between FISH(+) and FISH(−) patients in either the chemotherapy+erlotinib arm or the chemotherapy+placebo arm. In FISH(+) patients, median time to progression (TTP) was 6.3 months in the erlotinib arm versus 5.8 months in the placebo arm (hazard ratio, 0.59; 95% confidence interval, 0.35–0.99; P = 0.0430); in FISH(−) patients, median TTP was 4.6 months versus 6.0 months (hazard ratio,1.42; 95%confidence interval, 0.95–2.14; P = 0.0895; treatment interaction test, P = 0.007). After 6 months of treatment, a notable separation of the TTP curves in favor of erlotinib emerged. Objective response rates were11.6% versus 29.8% in FISH(+) patients (chemotherapy+erlotinib arm versus chemotherapy+placebo arm; P = 0.0495) and 21.8% versus 25.4%, respectively, for FISH(−) patients (P = 0.6954).
Conclusions
EGFR gene copy number by FISH did not predict survival benefit. However, among EGFR FISH(+) patients, TTP was longer in patients who received erlotinib and continued to receive it after completing first-line therapy.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-08-0539
PMCID: PMC3368373  PMID: 18829515
20.  Human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 overexpression and amplification in metastatic and recurrent high grade or type 2 endometrial carcinomas 
OncoTargets and therapy  2013;6:1065-1071.
Introduction
Human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER)-2 overexpression or gene amplification is more common in high-grade or type 2 endometrial carcinomas. We assessed the discordance of HER-2 expression between primary and metastatic or recurrent endometrial carcinomas.
Materials and methods
Thirty-six primary, along with 14 metastatic and five recurrent tumors (matched to primaries), pathologically confirmed as high-grade or type 2 endometrial carcinomas, were submitted for immunohistochemistry (IHC) for HER-2. Fluorescence in situ hybridization was performed when the tumors showed HER-2 overexpression (≥2+ IHC score). The results of the IHC and fluorescence in situ hybridization assays were compared between the primary and metastatic or recurrent tumors. The relationships between HER-2 expression and clinicopathological factors or prognosis were investigated.
Results
HER-2 overexpression and HER-2 amplification (a ratio of HER-2 copies to chromosome 17 [CEP17] copies ≥2.2) were detected in 33.3% (twelve of 36 patients) and 5.6% (two of 36 patients) of primary tumors, respectively. HER-2 overexpression was not associated with clinicopathological factors or prognosis. In 19 tumor specimens obtained from metastatic or recurrent tumors, HER-2 overexpression and HER-2 amplification were detected in 57.9% (eleven patients) and 15.8% (three patients), respectively. HER-2 overexpression tended to predict a worse prognosis.
Conclusion
HER-2 expression in metastatic or recurrent tumors was more frequent than in matched primary high-grade or type 2 endometrial carcinomas. Trastuzumab in combination with cytotoxic chemotherapy may represent an alternative therapeutic option for these tumors.
doi:10.2147/OTT.S47504
PMCID: PMC3742156  PMID: 23950654
endometrial carcinoma; high grade; type 2; HER-2; metastatic or recurrent tumors
21.  Cytogenetic analysis of HER1/EGFR, HER2, HER3 and HER4 in 278 breast cancer patients 
Introduction
The HER (human EGFR related) family of receptor tyrosine kinases (HER1/EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor)/c-erbB1, HER2/c-erbB2, HER3/c-erbB3 and HER4/c-erbB4) shares a high degree of structural and functional homology. It constitutes a complex network, coupling various extracellular ligands to intracellular signal transduction pathways resulting in receptor interaction and cross-activation. The most famous family member is HER2, which is a target in Herceptin™ therapy in metastatic status and also in adjuvant therapy of breast cancer in the event of dysregulation as a result of gene amplification and resulting protein overexpression. The HER2-related HER receptors have been shown to interact directly with HER2 receptors and thereby mutually affect their activity and subsequent malignant growth potential. However, the clinical outcome with regard to total HER receptor state remains largely unknown.
Methods
We investigated HER1–HER4, at both the DNA and the protein level, using fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) probes targeted to all four receptor loci and also immunohistochemistry in tissue microarrays derived from 278 breast cancer patients.
Results
We retrospectively found HER3 gene amplification with a univariate negative impact on disease-free survival (hazard ratio 2.35, 95% confidence interval 1.08 to 5.11, p = 0.031), whereas HER4 amplification showed a positive trend in overall and disease-free survival. Protein expression revealed no additional information.
Conclusion
Overall, the simultaneous quantification of HER3 and HER4 receptor genes by means of FISH might enable the rendering of a more precise stratification of breast cancer patients by providing additional prognostic information. The continuation of explorative and prospective studies on all HER receptors will be required for an evaluation of their potential use for specific therapeutic targeting with respect to individualised therapy.
doi:10.1186/bcr1843
PMCID: PMC2374953  PMID: 18182100
22.  Correlations of EGFR mutations and increases in EGFR and HER2 copy number to gefitinib response in a retrospective analysis of lung cancer patients 
BMC Cancer  2007;7:128.
Background
Gefitinib, a small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor of the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR), has shown limited efficacy in the treatment of lung cancer. Recognized clinical predictors of response to this drug, specifically female, non-smoker, Asian descent, and adenocarcinoma, together suggest a genetic basis for drug response. Recent studies have addressed the relationship between response and either sequence mutations or increased copy number of specific receptor tyrosine kinases. We set out to examine the relationship between response and the molecular status of two such kinases, EGFR and HER2, in 39 patients treated with gefitinib at the BC Cancer Agency.
Methods
Archival patient material was reviewed by a pathologist and malignant cells were selectively isolated by laser microdissection or manual recovery of cells from microscope slides. Genomic DNA was extracted from 37 such patient samples and exons 18–24, coding for the tyrosine kinase domain of EGFR, were amplified by PCR and sequenced. EGFR and HER2 copy number status were also assessed using FISH in 26 samples. Correlations between molecular features and drug response were assessed using the two-sided Fisher's exact test.
Results
Mutations previously correlated with response were detected in five tumours, four with exon 19 deletions and one with an exon 21 missense L858R point mutation. Increased gene copy number was observed in thirteen tumours, seven with EGFR amplification, three with HER2 amplification, and three with amplification of both genes. In our study cohort, a correlation was not observed between response and EGFR mutations (exon 19 deletion p = 0.0889, we observed a single exon 21 mutation in a non-responder) or increases in EGFR or HER2 copy number (p = 0.552 and 0.437, respectively).
Conclusion
Neither mutation of EGFR nor increased copy number of EGFR or HER2 was diagnostic of response to gefitinib in this cohort. However, validation of these features in a larger sample set is appropriate. Identification of additional predictive biomarkers beyond EGFR status may be necessary to accurately predict treatment outcome.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-7-128
PMCID: PMC1952070  PMID: 17626639
23.  Evaluation of chromosome 17 polysomy in breast cancer by FISH analysis of whole nuclei, and its clinicopathological significance 
Oncology Letters  2014;7(6):1954-1958.
Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) amplification and overexpression are associated with poor prognosis and resistance to cytotoxic drugs in patients with breast cancer. Increases in the number of HER2 gene copies have been shown to be associated with chromosome 17 polysomy. The use of whole, intact nuclei for fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assay improves the accuracy of the results. FISH analysis of whole nuclei (WNFISH) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) were used to analyze HER2 gene amplification and HER2 protein expression in 109 breast cancer specimens. Chromosome 17 polysomy and its correlations with HER2 gene amplification, HER2 protein expression and the clinicopathological outcomes of the patients were also investigated. Among the 109 cases, WNFISH detected HER2 amplification in 30 cases, equivocal amplification in 19 cases and no amplification in 60 cases. WNFISH detected chromosome 17 centromere (CEP17) polysomy in 37 cases and no polysomy in 72 cases. Among the 109 cases assessed by tissue microarray and IHC, 31 cases were HER2-negative, 14 cases were scored 1+, 23 cases were scored 2+ and 41 cases were scored 3+. The results demonstrated that in the cases with chromosome 17 polysomy, the HER2 gene was amplified, HER2 protein expression was increased and the incidences of nuclear atypia and lymph node metastases were higher compared with those in the cases without chromosome 17 polysomy. Chromosome 17 polysomy may correlate with increased malignant potential and metastatic spread in breast cancer.
doi:10.3892/ol.2014.2001
PMCID: PMC4049721  PMID: 24932267
breast cancer; nuclei microarray; fluorescence in situ hybridization; HER2 gene
24.  Polymorphisms, Mutations, and Amplification of the EGFR Gene in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancers 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(4):e125.
Background
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene is the prototype member of the type I receptor tyrosine kinase (TK) family and plays a pivotal role in cell proliferation and differentiation. There are three well described polymorphisms that are associated with increased protein production in experimental systems: a polymorphic dinucleotide repeat (CA simple sequence repeat 1 [CA-SSR1]) in intron one (lower number of repeats) and two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the promoter region, −216 (G/T or T/T) and −191 (C/A or A/A). The objective of this study was to examine distributions of these three polymorphisms and their relationships to each other and to EGFR gene mutations and allelic imbalance (AI) in non-small cell lung cancers.
Methods and Findings
We examined the frequencies of the three polymorphisms of EGFR in 556 resected lung cancers and corresponding non-malignant lung tissues from 336 East Asians, 213 individuals of Northern European descent, and seven of other ethnicities. We also studied the EGFR gene in 93 corresponding non-malignant lung tissue samples from European-descent patients from Italy and in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 250 normal healthy US individuals enrolled in epidemiological studies including individuals of European descent, African–Americans, and Mexican–Americans. We sequenced the four exons (18–21) of the TK domain known to harbor activating mutations in tumors and examined the status of the CA-SSR1 alleles (presence of heterozygosity, repeat number of the alleles, and relative amplification of one allele) and allele-specific amplification of mutant tumors as determined by a standardized semiautomated method of microsatellite analysis. Variant forms of SNP −216 (G/T or T/T) and SNP −191 (C/A or A/A) (associated with higher protein production in experimental systems) were less frequent in East Asians than in individuals of other ethnicities (p < 0.001). Both alleles of CA-SSR1 were significantly longer in East Asians than in individuals of other ethnicities (p < 0.001). Expression studies using bronchial epithelial cultures demonstrated a trend towards increased mRNA expression in cultures having the variant SNP −216 G/T or T/T genotypes. Monoallelic amplification of the CA-SSR1 locus was present in 30.6% of the informative cases and occurred more often in individuals of East Asian ethnicity. AI was present in 44.4% (95% confidence interval: 34.1%–54.7%) of mutant tumors compared with 25.9% (20.6%–31.2%) of wild-type tumors (p = 0.002). The shorter allele in tumors with AI in East Asian individuals was selectively amplified (shorter allele dominant) more often in mutant tumors (75.0%, 61.6%–88.4%) than in wild-type tumors (43.5%, 31.8%–55.2%, p = 0.003). In addition, there was a strong positive association between AI ratios of CA-SSR1 alleles and AI of mutant alleles.
Conclusions
The three polymorphisms associated with increased EGFR protein production (shorter CA-SSR1 length and variant forms of SNPs −216 and −191) were found to be rare in East Asians as compared to other ethnicities, suggesting that the cells of East Asians may make relatively less intrinsic EGFR protein. Interestingly, especially in tumors from patients of East Asian ethnicity, EGFR mutations were found to favor the shorter allele of CA-SSR1, and selective amplification of the shorter allele of CA-SSR1 occurred frequently in tumors harboring a mutation. These distinct molecular events targeting the same allele would both be predicted to result in greater EGFR protein production and/or activity. Our findings may help explain to some of the ethnic differences observed in mutational frequencies and responses to TK inhibitors.
Masaharu Nomura and colleagues examine the distribution ofEGFR polymorphisms in different populations and find differences that might explain different responses to tyrosine kinase inhibitors in lung cancer patients.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Most cases of lung cancer—the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide—are “non-small cell lung cancer” (NSCLC), which has a very low cure rate. Recently, however, “targeted” therapies have brought new hope to patients with NSCLC. Like all cancers, NSCLC occurs when cells begin to divide uncontrollably because of changes (mutations) in their genetic material. Chemotherapy drugs treat cancer by killing these rapidly dividing cells, but, because some normal tissues are sensitive to these agents, it is hard to kill the cancer completely without causing serious side effects. Targeted therapies specifically attack the changes in cancer cells that allow them to divide uncontrollably, so it might be possible to kill the cancer cells selectively without damaging normal tissues. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGRF) was one of the first molecules for which a targeted therapy was developed. In normal cells, messenger proteins bind to EGFR and activate its “tyrosine kinase,” an enzyme that sticks phosphate groups on tyrosine (an amino acid) in other proteins. These proteins then tell the cell to divide. Alterations to this signaling system drive the uncontrolled growth of some cancers, including NSCLC.
Why Was This Study Done?
Molecules that inhibit the tyrosine kinase activity of EGFR (for example, gefitinib) dramatically shrink some NSCLCs, particularly those in East Asian patients. Tumors shrunk by tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) often (but not always) have mutations in EGFR's tyrosine kinase. However, not all tumors with these mutations respond to TKIs, and other genetic changes—for example, amplification (multiple copies) of the EGFR gene—also affect tumor responses to TKIs. It would be useful to know which genetic changes predict these responses when planning treatments for NSCLC and to understand why the frequency of these changes varies between ethnic groups. In this study, the researchers have examined three polymorphisms—differences in DNA sequences that occur between individuals—in the EGFR gene in people with and without NSCLC. In addition, they have looked for associations between these polymorphisms, which are present in every cell of the body, and the EGFR gene mutations and allelic imbalances (genes occur in pairs but amplification or loss of one copy, or allele, often causes allelic imbalance in tumors) that occur in NSCLCs.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers measured how often three EGFR polymorphisms (the length of a repeat sequence called CA-SSR1, and two single nucleotide variations [SNPs])—all of which probably affect how much protein is made from the EGFR gene—occurred in normal tissue and NSCLC tissue from East Asians and individuals of European descent. They also looked for mutations in the EGFR tyrosine kinase and allelic imbalance in the tumors, and then determined which genetic variations and alterations tended to occur together in people with the same ethnicity. Among many associations, the researchers found that shorter alleles of CA-SSR1 and the minor forms of the two SNPs occurred less often in East Asians than in individuals of European descent. They also confirmed that EGFR kinase mutations were more common in NSCLCs in East Asians than in European-descent individuals. Furthermore, mutations occurred more often in tumors with allelic imbalance, and in tumors where there was allelic imbalance and an EGFR mutation, the mutant allele was amplified more often than the wild-type allele.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The researchers use these associations between gene variants and tumor-associated alterations to propose a model to explain the ethnic differences in mutational frequencies and responses to TKIs seen in NSCLC. They suggest that because of the polymorphisms in the EGFR gene commonly seen in East Asians, people from this ethnic group make less EGFR protein than people from other ethnic groups. This would explain why, if a threshold level of EGFR is needed to drive cells towards malignancy, East Asians have a high frequency of amplified EGFR tyrosine kinase mutations in their tumors—mutation followed by amplification would be needed to activate EGFR signaling. This model, though speculative, helps to explain some clinical findings, such as the frequency of EGFR mutations and of TKI sensitivity in NSCLCs in East Asians. Further studies of this type in different ethnic groups and in different tumors, as well as with other genes for which targeted therapies are available, should help oncologists provide personalized cancer therapies for their patients.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040125.
US National Cancer Institute information on lung cancer and on cancer treatment for patients and professionals
MedlinePlus encyclopedia entries on NSCLC
Cancer Research UK information for patients about all aspects of lung cancer, including treatment with TKIs
Wikipedia pages on lung cancer, EGFR, and gefitinib (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040125
PMCID: PMC1876407  PMID: 17455987
25.  Effects of lapatinib monotherapy: results of a randomised phase II study in therapy-naive patients with locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck 
British Journal of Cancer  2011;105(5):618-627.
Background:
Lapatinib is a dual inhibitor of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and human EGFR-2 (HER-2) tyrosine kinases. This study investigated the pharmacodynamic and clinical effects of lapatinib in patients with locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN).
Methods:
In total, 107 therapy-naive patients with locally advanced SCCHN were randomised (2 : 1) to receive lapatinib or placebo for 2–6 weeks before chemoradiation therapy (CRT). Endpoints included apoptosis and proliferation rates, clinical response, and toxicity.
Results:
Versus placebo, lapatinib monotherapy did not significantly increase apoptosis detected by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate-biotin nick-end labelling or caspase-3 assays. A statistically significant decrease in proliferation using Ki67 assay was observed (P=0.030). In a subset of 40 patients that received ⩾4 weeks of lapatinib or placebo, objective response rate (ORR) was 17% (n=4/24) vs 0% (n=0/16). In the lapatinib single-agent responders, all had EGFR overexpression, 50% had EGFR amplification, and 50% had HER2 expression by immunohistochemistry (including one patient with HER2 amplification). However, these patients showed variable modulation of apoptosis, proliferation, and phosphorylated EGFR on drug treatment. Following CRT, there was a statistically non-significant difference in ORR between lapatinib (70%) and placebo (53%). There was no clear correlation between changes in apoptosis or proliferation and response to chemoradiation. Mucosal inflammation, asthenia, odynophagia, and dysphagia were the most commonly reported adverse events with lapatinib.
Conclusion:
Short-term lapatinib monotherapy did not demonstrate apoptotic changes, but provided evidence of clinical activity in locally advanced SCCHN, and warrants further investigation in this disease.
doi:10.1038/bjc.2011.237
PMCID: PMC3188940  PMID: 21829197
epidermal growth factor receptor; lapatinib; squamous cell carcinoma

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