Selection of HER2/NEU negative tumor cells as a mechanism of resistance to trastuzumab in uterine serous carcinoma

Silvia Pelligra, Natalia Buza, Pei Hui, Stefania Bellone, Burak Zeybek, Elena Ratner, Peter E Schwartz, Giovanni Scambia, Alessandro D Santin
Gynecologic Oncology Reports 2020, 32: 100554

Background: Uterine serous carcinoma (USC) is an aggressive variant of endometrial cancer overexpressing HER2/neu in about 30% of cases. Trastuzumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody targeting Her2/Neu, in combination with carboplatin/paclitaxel, is considered the preferred regimen for the treatment of advanced or recurrent HER2/Neu+ USC per NCCN guidelines.

Case: We describe two USC patients with overexpression of HER2/neu at 2+/3+ level by immunohistochemistry and c-erbB2 gene amplification by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assay that, after an initial clinical response to trastuzumab, developed resistance/progression. Post-treatment biopsy (collected at the time of clinical progression on trastuzumab) demonstrated loss of HER2/neu overexpression in the recurrent/progressing tumor cells in both patients.

Conclusion: Selection of HER2/NEU negative tumor cells may represent a major mechanism of resistance to trastuzumab in USC patients.

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