HER-2/neu assessment in primary chemotherapy treated breast carcinoma: No evidence of gene profile changing

Gian Paolo Dagrada, Alessandra Mezzelani, Loredana Alasio, Mario Ruggeri, Roberta Romanò, Marco A. Pierotti, Silvana Pilotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


HER-2/neu protein expression and gene amplification were analyzed in a series of 85 consecutive breast carcinoma patients entered into an adriamicin/taxol primary chemotherapy trial followed by surgery, 45 of whom underwent pre-treatment fine needle aspirate (FNA). Dual color FISH (fluorescent in situ hybridization) assay revealed high-level HER-2/neu gene amplification in the immunocytochemistry (ICC) indicated 3+ cases and no, low or moderate amplification in the ICC 2+ group, consistent with previous findings in untreated patients series. Results obtained with the ICC assay CB 11 showed higher overall concordance with FISH than did the Herceptest ICC assay, but CB 11 was less accurate than Herceptest in terms of selecting patients suitable for Herceptin treatment, which is currently restricted to ICC 3+/FISH amplified patients. The only ICC 3+ low-level amplified case (non-amplified according the two more stringent criteria applied) was found with the CB 11 assay. Comparison between pretreatment smears and post-treatment sections by FISH revealed no significant changes in the HER-2/neu gene profile. In the clinical setting these findings point to the usefulness of HER-2/neu assessment in chemotherapy-treated patients, when pre-treatment material is unavailable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-214
Number of pages8
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003


  • Archival smears
  • Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH)
  • HER-2/neu
  • Homogeneously staining regions (HSR)
  • Immunocytochemistry (ICC)
  • Tissue sections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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