ABSTRACT: HER2 is a clinically important tumor marker in breast cancer; however, there is controversy regarding which method reliably measures HER2 status. We compared three HER2 laboratory methods: immunohistochemistry (IHC), fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR), to predict disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) after adjuvant doxorubicin-based therapy in node-positive breast cancer patients.
This is a Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) study, using 524 tumor blocks collected from breast cancer patients registered to clinical trial CALGB 8541. IHC employed CB11 and AO-11-854 monoclonal antibodies; FISH used PathVysion HER2 DNA Probe kit; PCR utilized differential PCR (D-PCR) methodology.
Cases HER2 positive by IHC, FISH and D-PCR were 24%, 17%, and 18%, respectively. FISH and IHC were clearly related (kappa = 64.8%). All three methods demonstrated a similar relationship for DFS and OS. By any method, for patients with HER2-negative tumors, there was little or no effect of dose of adjuvant doxorubicin-based therapy. For patients with HER2-positive tumors, all three methods predicted a benefit from dose-intense (high-dose) compared with low- or moderate-dose adjuvant doxorubicin-based therapy.
FISH is a reliable method to predict clinical outcome following adjuvant doxorubicin-based therapy for stage II breast cancer patients. There is a moderate level of concordance among the three methods (IHC, FISH, PCR). None of the methods is clearly superior. Although IHC-positive/FISH-positive tumors yielded the greatest interaction with dose of therapy in predicting outcome, no combination of assays tested was statistically superior.
Journal of Clinical Oncology 08/2005; 23(19):4287-97. · 18.37 Impact Factor