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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 143  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 52-58

Evaluation of HER2/neu oncoprotein in serum & tissue samples of women with breast cancer

1 Department of Pathology, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Associated Hospitals, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Surgery, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Associated Hospitals, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Shailaja Shukla
Professor of Pathology, Lady Hardinge Medical College New Delhi 110 001
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-5916.191769

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Background & objectives: The proto-oncogene HER2/neu has been extensively studied in breast cancer patients. Serum levels of HER2/neu by ELISA in breast cancer patients were compared with tissue HER2/neu expression and with other clinicopathological parameters with the aim to investigate whether the serum assay could replace the established tests (IHC/FISH) for HER-2 status. Methods: Blood and Tru-cut biopsy samples were collected for determining HER2/neu status in 64 breast cancer patients. The tissue specimens were processed routinely and immunohistochemistry (IHC) for HER2/ER/PR (oestrogen/progesterone receptors) performed. Fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) was performed on all HER2/neu 2 positive cases. Sixty age matched healthy females and females with benign breast disease were taken as controls for ELISA. Results: Of the 64 breast cancer cases, 25 (39.1%) had elevated serum HER2/neu levels accompanied with increased tissue expression of HER2/neu receptors. On IHC, HER2/neu score was 3+ in 24 (37.5%) cases, 2+ in three (4.6%), 1+ in 18 (28.1%); while 19 cases (29.7%) showed no HER2/neu expression. o0 f the three 2+ cases on IHC, two showed amplification on FISH. Twenty one (32.8%) patients were ER positive and 17 (26.6%) were PR positive. There was a significant correlation (P<0.001) of serum HER2 concentration with tumour size, lymph node involvement, stage of disease and histological grade. Serum HER2/neu levels showed a negative correlation with ER status (P=0.047) but no correlation with PR status. Interpretation & conclusions: The results suggest that elevated serum HER2 level was associated with a clinicopathological aggressive phenotype of breast carcinoma and was related to tissue HER2 overexpression. Therefore, serum HER2 may be useful for monitoring the course of the disease and response to treatment.

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