Circulating HER2 extracellular domain (HER2 ECD) levels were proposed as a surrogate for HER2 tissue expression to monitor breast cancer patients for early relapse or responses to standard or HER2-targeted therapies, such as the monoclonal antibody (mAb) trastuzumab. Currently, available commercial ELISA assays for HER2 ECD rely on antibodies recognizing undisclosed or unknown epitopes. In this work, two ELISA assays employing MGR2 and MGR3 epitope-specific mAbs for HER2 ECD were developed and validated, showing good assay precision and linearity of the dose-response signal within the dynamic range of 0.19–12.50 ng mL−1 and detection limits of 0.76 and 0.75 ng mL−1 for the MGR2 and MGR3 assays, respectively. The developed assay showed a good agreement with two widely used commercial kits for HER2 ECD quantification in serum samples from breast cancer patients. A complete characterization of mAb-HER2 ECD interaction was performed by means of surface plasmon resonance using trastuzumab as control for both epitope mapping and kinetics analysis. The epitopes recognized by the two mAbs showed no overlap with trastuzumab, which was confirmed by trastuzumab interference analysis in serum samples. The method showed to be a practical approach to determine HER2 ECD with a high degree of sensitivity, reliability and recovery in samples containing mAbs-based therapies.
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