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Immunohistochemistry and fluorescence in situ hybridization assessment of HER2 in clinical trials of adjuvant therapy for breast cancer (NCCTG N9831, BCIRG 006, and BCIRG 005).

Mayo Clinic, 4500 San Pablo Road S., Jacksonville, FL, 32224, USA, .
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment (Impact Factor: 4.47). 02/2013; 138(1):99-108. DOI: 10.1007/s10549-013-2444-y
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A comprehensive, blinded, pathology evaluation of HER2 testing in HER2-positive/negative breast cancers was performed among three central laboratories. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analyses were performed on 389 tumor blocks from three large adjuvant trials: N9831, BCIRG-006, and BCIRG-005. In 123 cases, multiple blocks were examined. HER2 status was defined according to FDA-approved guidelines and was independently re-assessed at each site. Discordant cases were adjudicated at an on-site, face-to-face meeting. Results across three independent pathologists were concordant by IHC in 351/381 (92 %) and FISH in 343/373 (92 %) blocks. Upon adjudication, consensus was reached on 16/30 and 18/30 of discordant IHC and FISH cases, respectively, resulting in overall concordance rates of 96 and 97 %. Among 155 HER2-negative blocks, HER2 status was confirmed in 153 (99 %). In the subset of 102 HER2-positive patients from N9831/BCIRG-006, primary blocks from discordant cases were selected, especially those with discordant test between local and central laboratories. HER2 status was confirmed in 73 (72 %) of these cases. Among 118 and 113 cases with IHC and FISH results and >1 block evaluable, block-to-block variability/heterogeneity in HER2 results was seen in 10 and 5 %, respectively. IHC-/FISH- was confirmed for 57/59 (97 %) primary blocks from N9831 (locally positive, but centrally negative); however, 5/22 (23 %) secondary blocks showed HER2 positivity. Among 53 N9831 patients with HER2-normal disease adjudicated as IHC-/FISH-(although locally positive), there was a non-statistically significant improvement in disease-free survival with concurrent trastuzumab compared to chemotherapy alone (adjusted hazard ratio 0.34; 95 % CI, 0.11-1.05; p = 0.06). There were similar agreements for IHC and FISH among pathologists (92 % each). Agreement was improved at adjudication (96 %). HER2 tumor heterogeneity appears to partially explain discordant results in cases initially tested as positive and subsequently called negative.

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