Expression of HER2/neu is uncommon in human neuroblastic tumors and is unrelated to tumor progression

Claudio Gambini, Angela Rita Sementa, Luca Boni, Carla Enrica Marino, Michela Croce, Francesca Negri, Vito Pistoia, Silvano Ferrini, Maria Valeria Corrias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neuroblastic tumors (NT) are the most frequently occurring extracranial solid tumors during childhood. The overall 5-year survival is approximately 20% for patients with metastatic disease. Novel treatments are therefore intensively sought and tumor-targeted immuno- and chemotherapy appear promising. The HER2/neu oncogene, which is highly homologous to the EGF receptor, was initially isolated from rat neuroblastoma cells. HER2/neu over-expression is frequently detected in breast tumors and constitutes an important unfavorable prognostic factor. HER2/neu is a suitable target for antibody-based immunotherapy, as demonstrated by the clinical efficacy of the Herceptin monoclonal antibody (mAb), which reacts with its extracellular domain. Expression of HER2/neu has also been reported to be a negative prognostic factor in a small survey of NT tumors. Here, we have investigated HER2/neu expression in 14 human and 2 murine neuroblastoma (NB) cell lines by flow cytometric analysis and in 93 NT by means of a certified immunohistochemical system. HER2/neu over-expression was found in 2 human cell lines and 11 tumors (14% for both types of samples). No significant association was found between HER2/neu expression and stage, age, sex, ploidy, histological type or subtype. Moreover, log rank test indicated that overall and event-free survival was not significantly different in HER2/neu positive and negative patients. These data suggest that HER2/neu should not be considered as a relevant prognostic factor in NT, and that HER2/neu-based immunotherapy may be feasible only in a minority of NT patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-120
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2003


  • C-erb2
  • Cancer
  • HER2/neu
  • Immunotherapy
  • Neuroblastoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Immunology
  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Expression of HER2/neu is uncommon in human neuroblastic tumors and is unrelated to tumor progression'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this