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June 2010
A. Yosepovich, C. Avivi, J. Bar, S. Polak-Charcon, C. Mardoukh and I. Barshack

Background: HER2 is an important prognostic and predictive marker in invasive breast cancer. It is currently assessed by immunohistochemistry for protein over-expression and by fluorescence in situ hybridization for gene amplification. The immunohistochemistry-equivocal cases (2+) are currently retested by FISH[1] to determine eligibility for trastuzumab treatment. Retesting by FISH significantly raises the cost of patient management and sometimes delays treatment. The 4B5 is a new, FDA-approved, rabbit monoclonal antibody for HER2 testing.

Objectives: To examine the reliability of 4B5 IHC[2] HER2 testing in cases found to be HER2 status equivocal by CB11 IHC.

Methods: Twenty-eight invasive breast cancer cases, with an equivocal HER2 status by CB11 IHC, were retested by the 4B5 antibody as well as by FISH analysis. The scoring was performed using the same guidelines as HercepTest and was correlated with the FISH ratio. Results: Of the original 28 CB11 clone designated equivocal cases, 14 (50%) showed negative HER2 staining using the 4B5 clone (HercepTest score 0 and 1+). Five cases (18%) proved to be positive (HercepTest score 3+) and 9 cases (32%) remained equivocal (HercepTest score 2+). The corresponding FISH ratio results showed that all 4B5 negative cases were negative by FISH testing, with a negative predictive value of 100% 4 of 5 of the 4B5-positive cases were positive by FISH testing, with a positive predictive value of 80%. One 4B5-positive case was borderline-high (2.2 ratio) by FISH. The correlation between 4B5 IHC and FISH was statistically significant (P = 0.0013) by chi-square test.

Conclusions: Sequential testing by 4B5 IHC could greatly reduce the need for FISH testing in cases considered HER2 equivocal by CB11 IHC.

 

 
[1] FISH = fluorescence in situ hybridization

[2] IHC = immunohistochemistry

October 2006
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