Expression of HER-2/NEU oncoprotein in familial and non-familial breast cancer.

K. B. Tsai, M. F. Hou, H. J. Lin, C. Y. Chai, Ching-Hsun Liu, T. J. Huang

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14 Citations (Scopus)


The HER-2/neu proto-oncogene amplification or oncoprotein overexpression is an important prognostic factor and a predictive factor for resistance to endocrine therapy and adjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancers. Moreover, it is an entry criterion in the assessment of patients for whom Herceptin (Trastuzumab) treatment is considered. The overexpression rate of HER-2/neu oncoprotein has been identified in 10% to 40% of human breast cancers. In Taiwan, a higher grade of pathobiologic characteristics of familial breast cancer was also noted than that found in the non-familial group. It is worthwhile to evaluate whether the overexpression is more frequent in familial breast cancers. Fifty-six familial and 111 non-familial breast cancers were studied between 1990 and 1999 to assess both the overexpression of HER-2/neu oncoprotein immunohistochemically and the correlation with the histological type, grade and stage of breast carcinoma. The overexpression rate is higher in the familial breast cancer group (50.0%) when compared with non-familial breast cancer group (36.9%), which did not prove to be statistically significant (P = 0.1068). However, when the infiltrating ductal carcinomas of both groups are compared, it is statistically significant (52.3% vs. 33.7%, P = 0.0429). Overexpression correlated with node status and histological grade of infiltrating ductal carcinomas in non-familial and overall breast cancers. It also correlated with nuclear pleomorphism and mitotic counts, but not tubule formation or tumor size. All 3 cases of Paget's disease revealed overexpression, whereas all 12 cases of mucinous and one case of metaplastic carcinoma and one case of medullary carcinoma were negative. The overexpression rate was higher both in familial and non-familial intraductal carcinomas (57.1% vs. 73.3%, P = 0.4716). No statistical difference was identified between the 2 subsets. A case of infiltrating ductal carcinoma combined with intraductal carcinoma revealed heterogeneous staining in the component of ductal carcinoma in situ, while the invasive component did not. This suggests that overexpression decreases within individual tumors as they evolve from in situ to invasive lesioins. The HER-2/neu may imply a different role in intraductal carcinoma, Paget's disease and invasive duct carcinoma. Although the overexpression rate of HER-2/neu oncoprotein of familial breast cancer was not significantly higher than that of the non-familial group, it is appropriate to evaluate the rate of HER-2/neu overexpression according to the histological type of breast cancers from familial breast cancer and non-familial breast cancer. The prognoses will be needed for future evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-76
Number of pages13
JournalThe Kaohsiung journal of medical sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Jan 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)

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