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1.  Her-2 neu (Cerb-B2) expression in fine needle aspiration samples of breast carcinoma: A pilot study comparing FISH, CISH and immunocytochemistry 
Background:
Breast cancers with Her-2 neu gene amplification are recognized as important markers for aggressive disease and targets which respond to therapy with trastuzumab. Her-2 neu testing on histological sections is routinely performed to select patients who may benefit from anti- Her-2 neu therapy. Few reports are available which document Her-2 neu status on fine needle aspirates (FNA).
Aim:
This pilot study is to document expression of Her-2 neu (Cerb-B2) on cytospin smears from FNA of patients with breast carcinoma.
Materials and Methods:
Twenty samples of FNA already collected for diagnostic purposes from patients with primary breast carcinoma were studied for demonstration of Her-2 neu expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC), Fluorescent in-situ hybridization (FISH) and chromogenic in-situ hybridization (CISH) on cytospin smears from FNA. Their expression was compared with tissue sections where possible.
Results:
Good correlation was observed between Her-2 neu protein expression and gene amplification in cytospin smears. Three of five (60%) breast carcinomas cases with 2+ and 3+ staining on IHC showed gene amplification by FISH and CISH. Three of 7 (43%) and 5 of 7 (71%) cases negative/1+ staining on IHC did not show gene amplification by FISH and CISH respectively. Tissue sections from 10 cases with 2+ and 3+ staining for Her2neu by IHC showed gene amplification in 8 cases.
Conclusion:
Demonstration of Her-2 neu by IHC, FISH or CISH in FNA is possible and may play a role in the management of patients with advanced breast cancer or those cases where surgical resection is not advisable.
doi:10.4103/0970-9371.80731
PMCID: PMC3111708  PMID: 21713147
Fine needle breast aspirates; FISH; Her-2 neu; Immunohistochemistry
2.  Which is worse: uterine papillary serous carcinomas or carcinosarcomas? 
Objective
It is clear that uterine carcinosarcomas and uterine papillary serous carcinomas (UPSC) have an adverse impact on outcome, but whether carcinosarcomas are worse than UPSC is unclear. The purpose of this study is to compare the pathology, survival, and disease recurrence of patients with carcinosarcomas to patients with UPSC.
Methods
The medical records of patients diagnosed with carcinosarcomas and UPSC between 1996 and 2009 at Samsung Medical Center were retrospectively analyzed. Information from pathology reports, site of relapse, time to recurrence, and death was obtained. The survival analysis was performed using the Kaplan-Meier method.
Results
Thirty seven patients with carcinosarcomas and 38 patients with UPSC were identified during the study period. There was no significant difference in clinical characteristics including age, body mass index, proportion with advanced stage disease, rate of optimal debulking, and adjuvant treatment used. In addition, the pathology showed no significant difference in tumor size, myometrial involvement, lymphovascular invasion, peritoneal cytology, cervical invasion, and lymph node involvement. Patients with carcinosarcomas had similar patterns of relapse as the patients with UPSC. There was no difference in the progression-free and overall survival between the carcinosarcomas and UPSC patients (p=0.804 and p=0.651, respectively).
Conclusion
Patients with carcinosarcomas had similar clinicopathological features compared to the patients with UPSC.
doi:10.3802/jgo.2011.22.2.83
PMCID: PMC3152760  PMID: 21860733
Uterine carcinosarcomas; Uterine papillary serous carcinomas; Epithelial endometrial carcinomas
3.  Comparison of Chromogenic In Situ Hybridisation with Fluorescence In Situ Hybridisation and Immunohistochemistry for the Assessment of Her-2/neu Oncogene in Archival Material of Breast Carcinoma 
The successful treatment of breast cancer is dependent upon a number of complex factors. Her-2/neu gene amplification is known to be one of the most common genetic alterations associated with breast cancer and its accurate determination has become necessary for the selection of patients for trastuzumab therapy.
The aim of this study was to prove the consistency of chromogenic in situ hybridisation (CISH) technique after analyzing the overexpression of the Her-2/neu proto-oncogene in 100 invasive breast carcinomas and by comparing CISH results with immunohistochemistry (IHC) and fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH). Moreover, it was done to evaluate the possible correlation of estrogen (ERs) and progesterone receptors (PRs), the proliferation marker Ki67 and the tumour suppressor gene p53 with HER-2/neu status of these breast carcinomas.
Of the 100 breast carcinomas that were analysed, 22 cases showed HER-2/neu amplification, 66 cases showed no amplification, whereas 12 cases were non-interpretable in both assays (FISH and CISH). Consequently, the overall concordance between FISH and CISH was 100%. Additionally, it was observed that when HER-2/neu gene was overexpressed, there was an association with negative PRs and ERs status, negative p53 protein expression and high Ki67 labelling index.
It is concluded that patients with tumours scoring 2+ with the CBE356 antibody (borderline immunohistochemistry-tested cases) would also benefit from CISH as it is shown to be highly accurate, practical and can be easily integrated into routine testing in any histopathology laboratory. Finally, CISH represents an important addition to the HER2 testing algorithm.
doi:10.1267/ahc.07029
PMCID: PMC2447915  PMID: 18636112
breast cancer; CISH; FISH; HER-2/neu
4.  HER2/neu-directed therapy for biliary tract cancer 
Background
Biliary cancers are highly aggressive tumors that are often diagnosed an advanced disease stage and have a poor outcome with systemic therapy. Recent efforts towards molecular characterization have identified a subset of biliary patients that have HER2/neu amplification or mutation. HER2/neu amplification is associated with response to HER2/neu-directed therapy in breast and gastric cancers. However, the efficacy of HER2/neu-targeted therapy in biliary cancers is unknown.
Patients and methods
We retrospectively reviewed cases of advanced gallbladder cancer and cholangiocarcinoma with HER2/neu genetic aberrations or protein overexpression who received HER2/neu-directed therapy between 2007 and 2014. Clinical data were retrieved from medical records, and imaging studies were independently reviewed.
Results
Nine patients with gallbladder cancer and five patients with cholangiocarcinoma had received HER2/neu-directed therapy (trastuzumab, lapatinib, or pertuzumab) during the study period. In the gallbladder cancer group, HER2/neu gene amplification or overexpression was detected in eight cases. These patients experienced disease stability (n = 3), partial response (n = 4), or complete response (n = 1) with HER2/neu-directed therapy. One patient had HER2/neu mutation and experienced a mixed response after lapatinib therapy. The duration of response varied from 8+ to 168 weeks (median 40 weeks), and three patients are still on therapy. One patient developed HER2/neu amplification as a secondary event after FGFR-directed therapy for FGF3-TACC3 gene fusion. The cholangiocarcinoma cases treated in this series had a higher proportion of HER2/neu mutations, and no radiological responses were seen in these patients despite HER2/neu-directed therapy.
Conclusions
HER2/neu blockade is a promising treatment strategy for gallbladder cancer patients with gene amplification and deserves further exploration in a multi-center study.
doi:10.1186/s13045-015-0155-z
PMCID: PMC4469402  PMID: 26022204
Receptor; ErbB-2; Gallbladder neoplasms; Cancer of the biliary tract
5.  Lack of prognostic relevance of Her-2/neu, topoisomerase IIα and EGFR in advanced ovarian carcinoma 
Patients with advanced ovarian cancer (FIGO stage III) have a poor clinical prognosis. However, these patients show distinct differences in their survival time, possibly due to differing responses to chemotherapy and differing tumor biology. In contrast to histological subtype, grading and staging, which are known to affect a patient’s prognosis, the impact of the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (Her-2/neu), topoisomerase IIα and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) on survival remain inconclusive. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess their impact on survival in a group of advanced ovarian cancer patients. Tissue microarrays were constructed from specimens of 243 patients. Gene copy and chromosome numbers were evaluated by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and protein expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Scoring for the latter was calculated by considering the percentage of positive tumor cells and the relative staining intensity. FISH results were evaluated by previously published recommendations and correlated with overall survival. Using IHC, 1.6% of the cases that were tested for Her-2/neu and topoisomerase IIα were strongly positive, and 12.3% were positive for EGFR. Using FISH, 4.4% amplifications and 2.1% polysomies for Her-2/neu were identified; topoisomerase IIα showed 2.2% amplifications, 0.4% deletions and 3.5% polysomies. We observed 10.8% high polysomies, but no amplification for EGFR. None of the results obtained by IHC or FISH correlated with overall survival. In general, Her-2/neu, topoisomerase IIα and EGFR may be prognostic factors in ovarian carcinomas. However, within this group of FIGO stage III patients, differences in gene aberration or protein expression were not able to predict differences in survival.
doi:10.3892/etm.2012.481
PMCID: PMC3438672  PMID: 22969977
advanced ovarian cancer; Her-2/neu; topoisomerase IIα; epidermal growth factor receptor; co-amplification; prognosis; fluorescence in situ hybridization
6.  Quantitation of HER2/neu Expression in Primary Gastroesophageal Adenocarcinomas Using Conventional Light Microscopy and Quantitative Image Analysis 
Context
Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2/neu) is overexpressed in a proportion of gastroesophageal (GE) adenocarcinomas, and trastuzumab treatment results in significant improvement in overall survival in patients with HER2/neu-overexpressing GE tumors. Grading of HER2/neu expression in GE tumors and its clinical application is different from that of breast cancer. HER2/neu immunohistochemistry (IHC) image analysis (IA), widely used in breast cancer, has not been studied in GE tumors.
Objective
To evaluate the correlation between manual HER2/neu IHC scoring and HER2/neu IHC image analysis in GE adenocarcinomas with characterization of associated clinicopathologic features.
Design
Tumor grade, growth pattern, and stage were evaluated in 116 cases of primary GE adenocarcinoma biopsy and resection specimens. Using anti-HER2/neu antibody and the proposed HER2/neu scoring system for gastric cancer, HER2/neu IHC expression was recorded after manual scoring and automated IA interpretation.
Results
HER2/neu overexpression (IHC 3+) was detected in 19% (10 of 54) of gastric tumors, and overall correlation between manual HER2/neu IHC interpretation and IA interpretation was 78% (42 of 54). HER2/neu overexpression (IHC 3+) was detected in 26% (16 of 62) of GE junction tumors, and the overall correlation between manual HER2/neu IHC interpretation and IA interpretation was 84% (52 of 62).
Conclusions
The HER2/neu IHC scoring system for GE adenocarcinomas differs from that of breast carcinoma. Automated IA, validated for scoring of HER2/neu IHC in breast cancer, has a low correlation between HER2/neu IHC 2+ and IHC 3+ cases scored by conventional light microscopy and cannot be reliably used in the interpretation of HER2/neu IHC expression in GE adenocarcinomas.
doi:10.5858/arpa.2011-0371-OA
PMCID: PMC3806979  PMID: 22646266
7.  Chromogenic in situ hybridization (CISH): a novel alternative in screening archival breast cancer tissue samples for HER-2/neu status 
Breast Cancer Research  2004;6(5):R593-R600.
Background
Chromogenic in situ hybridization (CISH) is emerging as a practical, cost-effective, and valid alternative to fluorescent in situ hybridization in testing for gene alteration, especially in centers primarily working with immunohistochemistry (IHC).
Methods
We assessed Her-2/neu alteration using CISH on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded primary invasive ductal carcinoma tumors in which IHC (CB11 antibody) had previously been performed, and we compared the results with IHC. The 160 selected cases were equally stratified randomly into the four IHC categories (scores of 0, 1+, 2+, and 3+). We also compared age at diagnosis and tumor histologic grade with IHC and CISH Her-2/neu.
Results
We were able to perform and evaluate CISH successfully on all cases. The agreement between 3+ IHC and CISH-amplified cases as well as between all IHC and CISH Her-2/neu negative cases was 100%, and the concordance on all positive cases was 72.50%, with an overall agreement of 86.25%. All the discordant cases had 2+ IHC scores. Although we noted Her-2/neu positivity more in premenopausal women, the age at diagnosis was not significantly associated with IHC or CISH results. Similarly, although the small group of well-differentiated tumors was apparently Her-2/neu negative in both tests, no significant association was noted between any tumor histologic grade and either IHC or CISH results.
Conclusions
CISH is easily integrated into routine testing in our laboratory. It is a necessary adjunct in determining the subset of non-amplified IHC-positive invasive tumors that will not benefit from trastuzumab therapy. Those cases with 2+ IHC results will be triaged and subjected to CISH. Her-2/neu testing should be done on all breast cancer cases regardless of age at presentation and tumor histologic grade.
doi:10.1186/bcr915
PMCID: PMC549176  PMID: 15318940
breast cancer; chromogenic in situ hybridization; fluorescence in situ hybridization; Her-2/neu; immunohistochemistry
8.  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
9.  Correlation of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 expression with clinicopathological characteristics and prognosis in gastric cancer 
AIM: To investigate human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) gene amplification and protein expression in Chinese patients with resectable gastric cancer and the association with clinicopathological characteristics and survival.
METHODS: One hundred and ninety-seven gastric cancer patients who underwent curative surgery procedures were enrolled into this study. HER2 gene amplification and protein expression were examined using fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) analysis on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded gastric cancer samples from all patients. For scoring, Hofmann’s HER2 gastric cancer scoring system was adopted. All cases showing IHC3+ or FISH positivity were defined as HER2 positive. Patient clinicopathological data and survival information were collected. Finally, χ2 statistical analysis was performed to analyze the HER2 positivity rate amongst the subgroups with different clinicopathological characteristics including; gender, age, tumor location, Lauren classification, differentiation, TNM staging, depth of invasion, lymph node metastases and distant metastasis. The probability of survival for different subgroups with different clinicopathological characteristics was calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method and survival curves plotted using log rank inspection.
RESULTS: According to Hofmann’s HER2 gastric cancer scoring criteria, 31 cases (15.74%) were identified as HER2 gene amplified and 19 cases (9.64%) were scored as strongly positive for HER2 membrane staining (3+), 25 cases (12.69%) were moderately positive (2+) and 153 cases (77.66%) were HER2 negative (0/1+). The concordance rate between IHC and FISH analyses was 88.83% (175/197). Thirty-six cases were defined as positive for HER2 gene amplification and/or protein expression, with 24 of these cases being eligible for Herceptin treatment according to United States recommendations, and 29 of these cases eligible according to EU recommendations. Highly consistent results were detected between IHC3+, IHC0/1 and FISH (73.68% and 95.42%), but low consistency was observed between IHC2+ and FISH (40.00%). The positivity rates in intestinal type and well-differentiated gastric cancer were higher than those in diffuse/mixed type and poorly-differentiated gastric cancer respectively (28.57% vs 13.43%, P = 0.0103; 37.25% vs 11.64%, P < 0.0001), but were not correlated with gender, age, tumor location or TNM stage, depth of invasion, lymph node metastases and distant metastasis. In poorly-differentiated gastric cancer patients, those without lymph node metastasis showed a higher HER2 positivity rate than those with lymph node metastasis (26.47% vs 7.14%, P = 0.0021). This association was not present in those patients with well-differentiated gastric cancer (28.57% vs 43.33%, P = 0.2832). Within our patient cohort, 26 cases were lost to follow-up. The median survival time for the remaining 171 patients was 18 mo. The median survival times of the HER2 positive and negative groups were 17 and 18.5 mo respectively. Overall survival was not significantly different between HER2-positive and negative groups (χ2 = 0.9157, P = 0.3386), but in patients presenting well-differentiated tumors, the overall survival of the HER2-positive group was significantly worse than that of the HER2-negative group (P = 0.0123). In contrast, patients with poorly differentiated and diffuse/mixed subtype gastric cancers showed no significant differences in overall survival associated with HER2. Furthermore, the median survival time of the HER2 positive group did not show any statistically significant differences when compared to the subgroups of gender, age, tumor location, TNM classification, lymph node metastases and distant metastasis.
CONCLUSION: Patients with intestinal type gastric cancer (GC), well-differentiated GC and poorly-differentiated GC without lymph node metastasis, may all represent suitable candidates for targeted therapy using Herceptin.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v19.i14.2171
PMCID: PMC3627881  PMID: 23599643
Gastric cancer; Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2; Gene amplification; Protein expression; Clinicopathological characteristics
10.  Clinical significance of Akt and HER2/neu overexpression in African-American and Latina women with breast cancer 
Introduction
Breast cancer patients with HER2/neu overexpression have poor outcomes with a decrease in disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival. The biology of HER2/neu overexpression in breast tumors in African-American and Latina women is poorly understood. The purpose of this study is to understand the clinical significance of activated Akt (phospho-Akt or pAkt) expression in breast tumors from African-American and Latina patients with corresponding tissue HER2/neu overexpression. Cellular and molecular studies have shown that activation of the cell signaling phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/Akt cascade via the HER2/neu and other receptor tyrosine kinases induces cell proliferation.
Methods
A total of 234 African-American and Latina patients were selected retrospectively. From this group, 141 tumor tissue samples were analyzed for tissue pAkt by immunohistochemistry (IHC). This cohort consisted of 46 HER2/neu-positive (3+ by IHC) and 95 HER2/neu-negative tumors. The prognostic value of activated tissue Akt in relation to HER2/neu overexpression for DFS was determined.
Results
Patients with low pAkt and HER2-negative tumors had the best DFS. As expected, HER2/neu-overexpressing tumors with low pAkt had a decrease in DFS. Similarly, those with high pAkt and HER2-negative tumors also had poor DFS. However, those with an increase in both HER2 and pAkt had the worst DFS. An increase in pAkt was significantly associated with HER2/neu-positive and lymph node-positive breast tumors. Tumors with high HER2 and high pAkt were metastatic. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that, in addition to the common risk factors such as larger tumor size, lymph node involvement, estrogen receptor/progesterone receptor-negative tumors, and HER2/neu-positive tumors, overexpression of pAkt significantly was associated with a decrease in 5-year DFS. A decrease in DFS with an increase in pAkt was observed in both HER2/neu-positive and -negative groups. However, the DFS was similar between HER2/neu-positive/pAkt-negative and HER2/neu-negative/pAkt-positive groups.
Conclusion
Our data suggest that there may be differences in tumor phenotypes within the HER2/neu-overexpressing breast cancer patients. The overexpression of pAkt may be a powerful prognostic marker for predicting DFS and overall survival of breast cancer patients.
doi:10.1186/bcr1844
PMCID: PMC2374954  PMID: 18184439
11.  Evaluation of HER-2/neu status in breast cancer specimens using immunohistochemistry (IHC) & fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) assay 
Background & objectives:
Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) is increasingly being recognized as the most accurate and predictive test for HER2/neu gene amplification and response to therapy in breast cancer. In the present study we investigated HER-2/neu gene amplification by FISH in breast carcinoma tissue specimens and compared the results with that of immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis.
Methods:
A total of 90 breast carcinoma tissue samples were used for immunohistochemical (IHC) and FISH analysis. IHC was performed by using mouse monoclonal antibody to the intracellular domain of HER-2/neu protein. Each slide was scored in a blinded fashion by two pathologists according to the manufacturer's recommended criteria. FISH analysis was performed on paraffin embedded breast tumour tissue sections. The polysomy for centromere 17 (Spec green signal) was read as green signals less than 4 as moderate polysomy, and more than 4 as highly polysomy.
Results:
Thirty of the 90 patients had negative results by IHC and FISH. Of the 28 patients with the score of 2+ by IHC, 20 were FISH positive for HER-2/neu gene amplification, three were FISH negative and five patients showed equivocal (1.8-2.2) results by FISH. These five cases were retested for IHC and FISH on different paraffin embedded tissue blocks, and all five were found positive for HER-2/neu gene amplification. Twenty five patients with the score of 3+ by IHC were FISH positive for HER-2/neu gene amplification (>2.2). Seven cases with the score of 3+ by IHC were FISH negative for HER-2/neu gene amplification (>2.2), and showed polysomy of chromosome number 17 high polysomy > 4.
Interpretation & conclusions:
Our results indicated that HER-2/neu status by FISH should be performed in all cases of breast tumour with a 2+ score by IHC. Cases demonstrating a 3+ score by IHC may be subjected to FISH to rule out polysomy of chromosome 17 which could be falsely interpreted as HER-2/neu overexpression by IHC analysis. There is also a need for establishing a clinically validated cut-off value for HER-2/neu FISH amplification against IHC which may be further compared and calibrated.
PMCID: PMC3361866  PMID: 22561616
Breast cancer; HER2/neu gene amplification; fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH); immunohistochemistry (IHC)
12.  Evaluation of gene amplification and protein expression of HER-2/neu in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma using Fluorescence in situ Hybridization (FISH) and immunohistochemistry 
BMC Cancer  2009;9:6.
Background
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is the sixth most frequent neoplasia in Brazil. It is usually associated with a poor prognosis because it is often at an advanced stage when diagnosed and there is a high frequency of lymph node metastases. It is important to know what prognostic factors can facilitate diagnosis, optimize therapeutic decisions, and improve the survival of these patients. A member of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family, c-erbB-2, has received much attention because of its therapeutic implications; however, few studies involving fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis of HER-2/neu gene amplification and protein expression in ESCC have been conducted. The aim of this study was to verify the presence of HER-2/neu gene amplification using FISH, and to correlate the results with immunohistochemical expression and clinical-pathological findings.
Methods
One hundred and ninety-nine ESCC cases were evaluated using the Tissue Microarray (TMA) technique. A polyclonal antibody against c-erbB-2 was used for immunohistochemistry. Analyses were based on the membrane staining pattern. The results were classified according to the Herceptest criteria (DAKO): negative (0/1+), potential positive (2+) and positive (3+). The FISH reactions were performed according to the FISH HER2 PharmDx (DAKO) protocol. In each case, 100 tumor nuclei were evaluated. Cases showing a gene/CEN17 fluorescence ratio ≥ 2 were considered positive for gene amplification.
Results
The c-erbB-2 expression was negative in 117/185 cases (63.2%) and positive in 68 (36.8%), of which 56 (30.3%) were 2+ and 12 (6.5%) were 3+. No significant associations were found among protein expression, clinicopathological data and overall survival. Among the 47 cases analyzed, 38 (80.9%) showed no gene amplification while 9 (19.1%) showed amplification, as demonstrated by FISH. Cases that were negative (0/1+) and potential positive (2+) for c-erbB-2 expression by immunohistochemistry showed no gene amplification. However, all cases with gene amplification were positive (3+) by immunohistochemistry. According to univariate analysis, there was a significant difference (p = 0.003) in survival rates when cases with and without HER-2/neu amplification were compared.
Conclusion
Our data demonstrate the correspondence between gene amplification and protein expression of HER-2/neu. Gene amplification is an indicator of poor prognosis in ESCC.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-6
PMCID: PMC2648997  PMID: 19128465
13.  Overexpression/amplification of HER-2/neu is uncommon in hepatocellular carcinoma 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  2005;58(5):500-503.
Background: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most prevalent fatal cancers in the world. Despite advances in early diagnosis and improvements in surgical techniques, the survival of patients with HCC even after resection is poor because of the high incidence of recurrences. Therefore, the identification of prognostic factors may be helpful in the development of new treatment protocols.
Aims: To investigate HER-2/neu status in HCC by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH), and to explore the possibility of using trastuzumab in the treatment of HCC.
Methods: Eight hundred and sixty eight surgical samples from patients with primary HCC were examined for their HER-2/neu status. IHC for HER-2/neu was performed with the HercepTest kit; FISH analysis was performed with the PathVysion HER-2 DNA probe kit. The correlations between HER-2/neu overexpression and clinicopathological characteristics were analysed statistically.
Results: HER-2/neu overexpression was detected in 21 (2.42%) of the 868 primary HCCs. Only one specimen showed HER-2/neu gene amplification by FISH. No significant associations were found between HER-2/neu overexpression and the clinicopathological parameters.
Conclusions: There is a low frequency of HER-2/neu overexpression/amplification in HCC. There appears to be no role for HER-2/neu as a prognostic marker and no benefit of anti-HER-2/neu trastuzumab treatment in patients with HCC.
doi:10.1136/jcp.2004.023556
PMCID: PMC1770655  PMID: 15858121
HER-2/neu; hepatocellular carcinoma; fluorescence in situ hybridisation; immunohistochemistry
14.  HER-2/neu Oncogene Amplification by Chromogenic in situ Hybridization in 130 Breast Cancers Using Tissue Microarray and Clinical Follow-up Studies 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2004;19(3):390-396.
Determining of HER-2/neu oncogene amplification has become clinically important for managing breast cancer. Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) are currently regarded as the standard methods. Chromogenic in situ hybridization (CISH) was investigated as a new modification with an accurate, sensitive technique. From 1998 to 2002, using CISH and IHC, the amplification and protein expression of the HER-2/neu oncogene were examined using paraffin sections in 130 breast carcinomas and to determine the prognostic role of HER-2/neu for outcome after a follow-up of 24-64 months. Amplifications by CISH and overexpression by IHC were observed in 28 (22%) and 27 cases (20.8%), respectively. Of the 104 patients, 20 patients (19.2%) with amplification had a shorter disease-free interval (34.9 months vs. 38.0 months in controls) (p=0.372). 15 patients (14.4%) had a disease recurrence, but there is no significant difference between 3 patients amplifying the oncogene and 12 patients without oncogene (20.6 months vs. 19.6 months) (p=0.862). 6 patients (5.8%) of these died. CISH is a useful alternative, particularly for confirming the IHC results. There is no relationship between the early recurrence and the HER-2/neu positive group, but lymph node status was statistically significant.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2004.19.3.390
PMCID: PMC2816840  PMID: 15201505
Breast Neoplasms; Receptor, erbB-2; In Situ Hybridization; Immunohistochemistry; Pro-tein Array Analysis
15.  Laboratory assessment of the status of Her-2/neu protein and oncogene in breast cancer specimens: comparison of immunohistochemistry assay with fluorescence in situ hybridisation assays 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  2000;53(5):374-381.
Aim—To evaluate the clinical usefulness of three commercially available assays for Her-2/neu oncogene and protein measurements. The Her-2/neu protein is overexpressed, mostly as a result of gene amplification, in 20–30% of human breast cancers, and has been shown to have prognostic and predictive value for treatment with chemotherapy or the new monoclonal antibody, Herceptin.
Methods—An immunohistochemistry (IHC) assay using the Dako polyclonal antibody A0485, which measures the Her-2/neu protein, was compared with two new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) assays—INFORMTM and PathVysionTM, in a cohort of 52 formalin fixed, paraffin wax embedded breast tissues. These tissues were selected randomly from 84 consecutive infiltrating breast cancer specimens, which were first stratified according to the Her-2/neu protein levels as measured by IHC.
Results—The two FISH assays achieved a 98% concordance rate: 14 specimens (27%) showed Her-2/neu gene amplification and 37 specimens (71%) showed no Her-2/neu gene amplification. The PathVysion assay had certain advantages over the INFORM assay. In contrast, the IHC assay detected Her-2/neu overexpression in a high percentage of cases, including 13 high positive specimens (25%) and 13 medium positive specimens (25%). Although 10 of these 13 IHC high positive specimens showed gene amplification by FISH, nine of 13 IHC medium positive specimens showed no gene amplification. Statistical analyses showed that the differences between IHC and FISH assays were primarily in the specimens with medium positive IHC, but negative FISH results.
Conclusions—Because of the increasing importance of the Her-2/neu oncogene and oncoprotein in the clinical management of patients with breast cancer, the accurate and consistent evaluation of Her-2/neu status is crucial. This study suggests that the best approach is to combine both IHC and FISH assays; that is, to use the IHC assay as a triage step, followed by the PathVysion FISH assay to analyse the IHC medium and high positive cases.
Key Words: Her-2/neu • breast cancer • fluorescence in situ hybridisation
doi:10.1136/jcp.53.5.374
PMCID: PMC1731196  PMID: 10889820
16.  Simultaneous detection of expression and gene mutations of HER2/neu in Chinese patients with gastric cancer 
Oncology Letters  2010;1(3):559-563.
HER2/neu is one of the few identified oncogenes in tumorigenesis. Attention has been focused on the potential effect of HER2/neu mutations in the tyrosine kinase domain on carcinoma-targeted therapy. However, data concerning HER2/neu mutations in Chinese patients with gastric cancer (GC) are limited. This study aimed to detect the expression and somatic mutations of HER2/neu in Chinese patients with GC. Immunohistochemical staining for HER2/neu was performed on 72 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded specimens of GC (40 intestinal and 32 diffuse type). The correlation between the overexpression of HER2/neu and clinicopathological parameters was statistically analyzed. Somatic mutations in the tyrosine kinase domain of HER2/neu in the 72 patients were detected by direct sequencing. In the GC group, overexpression of HER2/neu was detected in 13 of the 72 GC patients and in 4 of the 72 adjacent tissues in the non-tumorous group (18.1 vs. 5.6%, P<0.05). Furthermore, the intestinal type of GC exhibited a higher rate of HER2/neu overexpression than the diffuse type (29.7 vs. 5.7%, P<0.05). The rate of HER2/neu overexpression in stage III-IV (TNM stage) GC cases was significantly higher than that in stage I-II (28.2 vs. 6.6%, P<0.05). HER2/neu overexpression correlated with a significantly less favorable patient survival (P=0.046). No somatic mutations in the tyrosine kinase domain of HER2/neu were detected in tumor tissues or the corresponding non-tumorous ones in the specimens obtained from the 72 Chinese GC patients. Results suggest that overexpression of HER2/neu is a frequent molecular event strongly associated with a poor patient prognosis, whereas the incidence of somatic mutations of the HER2/neu kinase domain is more likely a low-frequency event in Chinese GC patients.
doi:10.3892/ol_00000099
PMCID: PMC3436403  PMID: 22966343
HER2/neu; gastric cancer; gene mutation; overexpression
17.  Immunohistochemical results of HER2/neu protein expression assessed by rabbit monoclonal antibodies SP3 and 4B5 in colorectal carcinomas 
HER2/neu is an efficient target for cancer therapy. However, reports about its overexpression rate in colorectal carcinomas showed wide variability. This study aims to investigate HER2/neu expression in colorectal carcinomas using these two rabbit monoclonal HER2/neu antibodies, and to clarify the relationship between protein overexpression and gene amplification of HER2/neu and their clinicopathologic importance. Tissue microarray was performed from sections of 106 cases colorectal carcinomas. Their clinical data, including gender, age, stage, recurrence, lymph node metastasis, and follow-ups were collected. Immunohistochemistry for rabbit monoclonal antibody SP3 and 4B5 were performed, Fluorescent in situ hybridization was applied to detect the amplification of HER2/neu gene. The HER2/neu overexpression of (2+ and 3+) in our results were seen in 7.5% (8/106) for 4B5 and 3.8% (4/106) for SP3 respectively, the HER2/neu amplification was in 2.8% (3/106). All cases of overexpression for SP3 were included by those for 4B5. Both antibodies stained 3 cases of HER2/neu 3+, and FISH confirmed HER2/neu amplification did occurred in these cases. In our study, 4B5 was more sensitive to detect HER2/neu of colorectal carcinoma than SP3. 2.8% patients with colorectal patients might benefit from anti-HER2/neu therapy.
PMCID: PMC4129068  PMID: 25120833
HER2/neu; rabbit monoclonal antibody; colorectal carcinomas
18.  IHC for Her2 with CBE356 antibody is a more accurate predictor of Her2 gene amplification by FISH than HercepTest™ in breast carcinoma 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  2005;58(10):1086-1090.
Background: Her2 (c-erbB-2/neu) overexpression in breast carcinoma predicts response to the anti-Her2 monoclonal antibody, trastuzumab, and is associated with a poor prognosis. When considering patients for trastuzumab treatment, Her2 protein expression is measured by imunohistochemistry (IHC) and, where staining is equivocal, by fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) detection of Her2 gene amplification.
Aims: To compare IHC using CBE356 with IHC using the Food and Drug Administration approved HercepTest™.
Methods: CBE356 and HercepTest were analysed using 167 FISH characterised breast carcinomas. Immunohistochemical expression of Her2 was measured semiquantitatively. Sensitivity, specificity, predictive values, and overall accuracy were calculated for both IHC methods using gene amplification by FISH as the end point, and IHC and FISH assays were tested in Kaplan–Meier survival analysis.
Results: The accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) of CBE356 positive (2+ and 3+) cases were 94%, 89%, 95%, 84%, and 97%, respectively, and of HercepTest positive (2+ and 3+) cases were 91%, 66%, 98%, 92%, and 91%, respectively. A positive result with CBE356, HercepTest, or FISH was associated with significantly decreased overall survival (log rank p = 0.005, p = 0.0017, and p = 0.0005, respectively).
Conclusions: Positive IHC staining for Her2 using CBE356 is 3% more accurate and 23% more sensitive at predicting Her2 gene amplification by FISH than positive staining with HercepTest. Negative IHC using CBE356 antibody is 6% more likely to represent a truly negative result than negative staining with HercepTest. Overall, CBE356 was a more accurate predictor of Her2 gene amplification by FISH than HercepTest.
doi:10.1136/jcp.2004.021576
PMCID: PMC1770743  PMID: 16189156
CBE356; immunohistochemistry; Her expression; breast carcinoma
19.  Human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 gene amplification in gastric cancer using tissue microarray technology 
AIM: To assess human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2)-status in gastric cancer and matched lymph node metastases by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and chromogenic in situ hybridization (CISH).
METHODS: 120 cases of primary gastric carcinomas and 45 matched lymph node metastases from patients with full clinicopathological features were mounted onto multiple-punch and single-punch tissue microarrays, respectively, and examined for HER2 overexpression and gene amplification by IHC and CISH.
RESULTS: Twenty-four tumors (20%) expressed HER2 immunohistochemically. An IHC score of ≥ 2+ was observed in 20 tumors (16.6%). HER2 amplification was detected by CISH in 19 tumors (15.8%) and in their matched lymph node metastases. A high concordance rate was found between HER2 positivity (as detected by IHC) and HER2 gene amplification (as detected by CISH), since 19 of the 20 IHC positive cases were amplified (95%). All amplified cases had 2+ or 3+ IHC results. Amplification was associated with intestinal phenotype (P < 0.05). No association with grading, staging or survival was found.
CONCLUSION: In gastric cancer, HER2 amplification is the main mechanism for HER2 protein overexpression and is preserved in lymph node metastases.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v18.i2.150
PMCID: PMC3257442  PMID: 22253521
Human epidermal growth factor receptor-2; Immunohistochemistry; Chromogenic in situ hybridization; Gastric cancer
20.  Clinicopathological and prognostic significance of HER-2/neu and VEGF expression in colon carcinomas 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:277.
Background
HER-2/neu and VEGF expression is correlated with disease behaviors in various cancers. However, evidence for their expression in colon cancer is rather contradictory both for the protein expression status and prognostic value. HER-2/neu is found to participate in VEGF regulation, and has known correlation with VEGF expression in some tumors. In this study, we investigated HER-2/neu and VEGF expression in Chinese colon patients and explored whether there was any correlation between their expression patterns.
Methods
HER-2/neu and VEGF were investigated immunohistochemically using tumor samples obtained from 317 colon cancer patients with all tumor stages. Correlation of the degree of staining with clinicopathological parameters and survival was investigated.
Results
Positive expression rates of HER-2/neu and VEGF in colon cancer were 15.5% and 55.5% respectively. HER-2/neu expression was significantly correlated with tumor size and distant metastases (P < 0.05), but was not an independent prognostic marker of survival (P > 0.05). Expression of VEGF was significantly correlated with tumor size, tumor stage, lymph node metastases, and distant metastases (P < 0.05). The 5-year survival rate in patients with negative and positive VEGF expression was 70.2% and 61.9% respectively; the difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.146). No correlation between HER-2/neu and VEGF expression was detected (P = 0.151).
Conclusions
HER-2/neu and VEGF are not important prognostic markers of colon cancer. The present results do not support any association between HER2/neu and VEGF expression in this setting.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-277
PMCID: PMC3144457  PMID: 21708009
21.  Low frequency of HER2 amplification and overexpression in early onset gastric cancer 
Cellular Oncology (Dordrecht)  2011;34(2):89-95.
Background
The recent ToGA trial results indicated that trastuzumab is a new, effective, and well-tolerated treatment for HER2-positive gastric cancer (GC). Although GC mainly affects older patients, fewer than 10% of GC patients are considered early-onset (EOGC) (presenting at the age of 45 years or younger). These EOGC show different clinicopathological and molecular profiles compared to late onset GC suggesting that they represent a separate entity within gastric carcinogenesis. In light of potential trastuzumab benefit, subpopulations of GC such as EOGC (versus late onset) should be evaluated for their frequency of amplification and overexpression using currently available techniques.
Methods
Tissue microarray (TMA) blocks of 108 early onset GC and 91 late onset GC were stained by immunohistochemistry (IHC, Hercep test, DAKO) and chromogenic in situ hybridization (CISH, SPoT-Light, Invitrogen).
Results
Overall, we found only 5% HER2 high level amplification and 3% HER2 3+ overexpression (6/199). In addition, 8 patients (4%) showed a low level CISH amplification and 9 patients (4.5%) showed a 2+ IHC score. IHC and CISH showed 92% concordance and CISH showed less heterogeneity than IHC. In 2/199 cases (1%), IHC showed clinically relevant heterogeneity between TMA cores, but all cases with focal IHC 3+ expression were uniformly CISH high level amplified. Early onset GCs showed a significantly lower frequency of HER2 amplification (2%) and overexpression (0%) than late onset GCs (8% and 7% respectively) (p = 0.085 and p = 0.008 respectively). Proximal GC had more HER2 amplification (9% versus 3%) and overexpression (7% versus 2%) than distal tumours although this difference was not significant (p = 0.181 and p = 0.182 respectively). HER2 CISH showed more high level amplification in the intestinal type (7%, 16% if low-level included) compared to the mixed (5%, 5% if low-level included) and diffuse type (3%, 4% if low-level included) GCs (p = 0.029). A similar association was seen for HER2 IHC and histologic type (p = 0.008). Logistic regression indicated a significant association between HER2 expression and age, which remained significant when adjusted for both location and histological type.
Conclusions
Even focal HER2 overexpression in GC points to uniform HER2 amplification by CISH. We show for the first time that early onset GC has a lower frequency of HER2 amplification and overexpression than late onset GC, and confirm that intestinal type GC shows the highest rate of HER2 amplification and overexpression.
doi:10.1007/s13402-011-0021-0
PMCID: PMC3063579  PMID: 21394646
HER2; Gastric cancer; Immunohistochemistry; In situ hybridization
22.  PAM50 Breast Cancer Subtyping by RT-qPCR and Concordance with Standard Clinical Molecular Markers 
BMC Medical Genomics  2012;5:44.
Background
Many methodologies have been used in research to identify the “intrinsic” subtypes of breast cancer commonly known as Luminal A, Luminal B, HER2-Enriched (HER2-E) and Basal-like. The PAM50 gene set is often used for gene expression-based subtyping; however, surrogate subtyping using panels of immunohistochemical (IHC) markers are still widely used clinically. Discrepancies between these methods may lead to different treatment decisions.
Methods
We used the PAM50 RT-qPCR assay to expression profile 814 tumors from the GEICAM/9906 phase III clinical trial that enrolled women with locally advanced primary invasive breast cancer. All samples were scored at a single site by IHC for estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and Her2/neu (HER2) protein expression. Equivocal HER2 cases were confirmed by chromogenic in situ hybridization (CISH). Single gene scores by IHC/CISH were compared with RT-qPCR continuous gene expression values and “intrinsic” subtype assignment by the PAM50. High, medium, and low expression for ESR1, PGR, ERBB2, and proliferation were selected using quartile cut-points from the continuous RT-qPCR data across the PAM50 subtype assignments.
Results
ESR1, PGR, and ERBB2 gene expression had high agreement with established binary IHC cut-points (area under the curve (AUC) ≥ 0.9). Estrogen receptor positivity by IHC was strongly associated with Luminal (A and B) subtypes (92%), but only 75% of ER negative tumors were classified into the HER2-E and Basal-like subtypes. Luminal A tumors more frequently expressed PR than Luminal B (94% vs 74%) and Luminal A tumors were less likely to have high proliferation (11% vs 77%). Seventy-seven percent (30/39) of ER-/HER2+ tumors by IHC were classified as the HER2-E subtype. Triple negative tumors were mainly comprised of Basal-like (57%) and HER2-E (30%) subtypes. Single gene scoring for ESR1, PGR, and ERBB2 was more prognostic than the corresponding IHC markers as shown in a multivariate analysis.
Conclusions
The standard immunohistochemical panel for breast cancer (ER, PR, and HER2) does not adequately identify the PAM50 gene expression subtypes. Although there is high agreement between biomarker scoring by protein immunohistochemistry and gene expression, the gene expression determinations for ESR1 and ERBB2 status was more prognostic.
doi:10.1186/1755-8794-5-44
PMCID: PMC3487945  PMID: 23035882
23.  Prognosis of Women With Metastatic Breast Cancer by HER2 Status and Trastuzumab Treatment: An Institutional-Based Review 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2009;28(1):92-98.
Purpose
The purpose of this study was to determine whether trastuzumab improves prognosis of women with metastatic human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)/neu –positive breast cancer beyond that of women with HER2/neu-negative disease.
Patients and Methods
Two thousand ninety-one women with metastatic breast cancer diagnosed from 1991 to 2007, with known HER2/neu status and who had not received trastuzumab in the adjuvant setting, were identified. Disease was classified into the following three groups: HER2/neu negative, HER2/neu positive without first-line trastuzumab treatment, and HER2/neu positive with first-line trastuzumab treatment. Overall survival (OS) was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier product-limit method and compared between groups with the log-rank test. Cox proportional hazards models were used to determine associations between OS and HER2/neu status after controlling for patient characteristics.
Results
One hundred eighteen patients (5.6%) had HER2/neu-positive disease without trastuzumab treatment, 191 (9.1%) had HER2/neu-positive disease and received trastuzumab treatment, and 1,782 (85.3%) had HER2/neu-negative disease. Median-follow-up was 16.9 months. One-year survival rates among patients with HER2/neu-negative disease, HER2/neu-positive disease and trastuzumab treatment, and HER2/neu-positive disease and no trastuzumab treatment were 75.1% (95% CI, 72.9% to 77.2%), 86.6% (95% CI, 80.8% to 90.8%), and 70.2% (95% CI, 60.3% to 78.1%), respectively. In a multivariable model, women with HER2/neu-positive disease who received trastuzumab had a 44% reduction in the risk of death compared with women with HER2/neu-negative disease (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.56; 95% CI, 0.45 to 0.69; P < .0001). This HR varied with time and was significant for the first 24 months and not significant after 24 months.
Conclusion
Our results show that women with HER2/neu-positive disease who received trastuzumab had improved prognosis compared with women with HER2/neu-negative disease.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2008.19.9844
PMCID: PMC2799236  PMID: 19933921
24.  Association between hormone receptors and HER-2/neu is age-related 
Purpose: To investigate the association between hormone receptors and HER-2/neu in different age groups of women with breast cancers. Methods: A total of 1036 women with breast cancers were recruited. All the patients were divided into nine groups. The expression of hormone receptors and HER-2/neu was studied by IHC, while FISH test was used to determine HER-2/neu status in cases scored IHC 2+. The association between hormone receptors and HER-2/neu in different age groups was evaluated using the χ2 test. Multivariate analysis was used to find out the independent factors predicting HER-2/neu amplification. Significant findings: The expression of ER and PR was inversely correlated with HER-2/neu status in women aged >40 years. By multivariate analysis, as far as the overall groups were concerned, PR, lymph node status and tumor grade were independently associated with HER-2/neu; Considering the younger age group (≤40), the only predictor for HER-2/neu was the tumor grade; Considering the older age group (>40), tumor grade, PR status, tumor size and lymph node status were associated with HER-2/neu overexpression. Conclusions: Our data suggest that the association between ER, PR and HER-2/neu is age-related. The negative relationship is only applied for women aged >40 years.
PMCID: PMC4555748  PMID: 26339420
ER; PR; HER-2/neu; breast cancer
25.  Correlation of breast cancer risk factors with HER-2/neu protein overexpression according to menopausal and estrogen receptor status 
BMC Women's Health  2005;5:1.
Background
Several researchers have claimed that classification of tumours on the basis of HER-2/neu overexpression or amplification may define a subset of breast cancer in which the net effect of a risk factor could be rather more obvious and its impact on breast cancer development more clear. We decided to investigate, in a group of patients from a geographical area with a low incidence of breast cancer, whether HER-2/neu positive tumours are correlated with established or suspected risk factors for breast cancer and thus to identify distinct subgroups of high risk women.
Methods
This study analysed data from patients who attended the Breast Unit at the University Hospital of Heraklion, Crete, Greece between 1996 and 2002. 384 women with primary invasive breast cancer were compared with 566 screened women who were referred to the Unit and had not developed breast neoplasm by the time the data were analysed. Risk factor data were obtained from each subject by personal interviews using a structured questionnaire. The detection and scoring of the HER-2/neu protein, estrogen and progesterone receptor expression were performed using immunochemistry. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were determined by chi-square test and logistic regression analysis. Case-case odds ratios were calculated in order to measure the risk heterogeneity between HER-2/neu+ and HER-2/neu-tumours. Separate analyses were performed for premenopausal and postmenopausal women and according to estrogen receptor status.
Results
In multivariate analysis without HER-2/neu stratification, an increased breast cancer risk was associated with only four of the factors examined: use of oral contraceptives (OR = 4.40, 95%C.I: 1.46–13.28), use of HRT (OR = 7.34, 95%C.I: 2.03–26.53), an age at first full pregnancy more than 23 years (OR = 1.91, 95%C.I: 1.29–2.83) and body mass index more than 29 kg/m2 (OR = 3.13, 95%C.I: 2.02–4.84). Additionally, a history of abortion or miscarriage (OR = 0.56, 95%C.I: 0.38–0.82) was correlated with a decreased risk of breast cancer. In the case to case comparison only BMI >29 kg/m2 revealed a relative connection that was stronger with positive than with negative HER-2/neu tumours (ratio of OR's = 2.23, 95%C.I: 1.20–4.15, p = 0.011). This may indicate evidence of heterogeneity of a rather significant degree for this factor. In the ER negative group an age at first full pregnancy >23 years and a BMI >29 kg/m2 were associated with an increased risk in both HER-2/neu groups, but the association was significantly stronger for the latter factor in the positive HER-2/neu tumours (ratio of OR's = 2.46, 95%CI: 0.97–6.21).
Conclusions
Our study did not confirm that the established or putative hormonal breast cancer risk factors differ regarding their relations with HER-2/neu+ versus HER-2/neu-breast tumours, with the exception of increased BMI. Further innovative studies with larger sample sizes are needed to examine how the status of these potentially modifiable breast cancer risk factors interacts with biological markers such as HER-2/neu oncoprotein.
doi:10.1186/1472-6874-5-1
PMCID: PMC549187  PMID: 15694000

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