Estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2) expression are crucial in the biology of breast carcinoma. HER-2/neu gene is amplified and overexpressed in 15-30% of invasive breast cancers. HER-2-positive breast cancers have worse prognosis than HER-2 negative tumors and possess distinctive clinical features. The aim of this study was to assess the expression of HER2 in cancer tissue of patients with invasive breast cancer in correlation with tumor type, histological grade, tumor size, lymph node status, and expression of estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor.
Material and methods
Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues from 40 patients with invasive HER-2-positive breast cancer and from 191 patients with HER-2-negative breast cancer were used in this study. HER2 expression was determined using the test HerceptTest™ DAKO.
Among 231 cases of breast cancer, 18 invasive lobular carcinomas and 213 invasive ductal carcinomas were diagnosed. Sixty percent of HER-2-positive breast cancers were ER-positive compared with 77% in the HER-2-negative group (p = 0.002). The expression of PR was observed in 43% of HER-2-positive breast cancers and in 72% of HER2-negative tumors (p = 0.003). Excessive expression of HER2 protein was detected in 60% of patients positive for estrogen receptors, which may worsen prognosis in these patients.
Determination of HER2 overexpression in breast cancer patients, allows for a determination of a group of patients with a worse prognosis.