HER-2/neu expression in primary and metastatic breast cancer

Elyse E Lower, Eleanor Glass, Robbin Blau, Stacy Harman
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 2009, 113 (2): 301-6
Introduction Trastuzumab is a highly effective therapy for the treatment of HER-2/neu positive breast cancer. To maximize benefit and minimize unnecessary toxicity, patient selection is essential. Currently HER-2/neu analysis is routinely performed only for primary invasive breast cancers, and trastuzumab therapy is recommended based on primary analysis only. Methods Using immunohistochemistry, we performed a retrospective study comparing HER-2/neu expression in original primary to subsequent metastatic breast cancers. Results Tumors from 382 patients with metastatic breast cancer were studied. In 254 cases (66%) both primary and metastatic lesions were concordant. In 90 cases the primary lesion was HER-2/neu positive with the metastatic lesion negative; whereas, in 37 cases the primary lesion was HER-2/neu negative and the metastatic lesion positive. Primary HER-2/neu immunostaining was associated with a negative predictive value of 35.7%. Although all four groups were similar at diagnosis, survival differences were noted with the best survival experienced by patients with initial primary lesions HER-2/neu negative and subsequent metastatic lesions positive. Patients with hormone receptor and HER-2/neu positive primary lesions who received tamoxifen were more likely to have HER-2/neu positive metastasis. Conclusions The significant discordance between HER-2/neu expression in primary and metastatic tumors suggests that determination of HER-2/neu status in metastatic disease should be attempted.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"