Changes of HER2 status in circulating tumor cells compared with the primary tumor during treatment for advanced breast cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: HER2/neu status of tumor cells at metastatic sites in patients with advanced disease may differ from that of the primary tumor. Assessing the presence of target antigens on circulating tumor cells (CTCs) might affect treatment choice. Patients and Methods: From June 2007 to October 2008, we collected 23 mL of blood from each of the 76 consecutive patients before and during chemotherapy to determine CTC numbers and HER2 overexpression. CTCs were isolated with the CellSearch System® (Veridex, LLC; Raritan, NJ) and fluorescently stained with the Epithelial Cell Kit®. Tumor Phenotyping Reagent® was used to investigate HER2/neu overexpression. Results: Concordance of HER2 status between the primary tumor and CTCs was 86% (49 out of 57 patients) at baseline and 82% (50 out of 61 patients) in the treatment samples. HER2 overexpression in CTCs was acquired in 8 out of 45 patients (18%) and lost in 3 out of 16 patients (19%) during a treatment containing trastuzumab. The overall discordance rate between the primary tumor and CTCs was 18% (11 out of 61 patients). Patients with HER2 overexpression in CTCs had poorer progression-free survival compared with those without CTCs or with HER2-CTCs (log-rank P =.036). Conclusion: Information on the presence or absence of HER2 overexpression can be obtained in CTCs. Larger trials are needed to evaluate the activity of HER2-targeted therapy in patients with acquired HER2 overexpression in CTCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-397
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Breast Cancer
Volume10
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2010

Keywords

  • HER2/neu overexpression
  • Phenotype
  • Targeted therapy
  • Trastuzumab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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