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Ann Oncol. 2008 May;19(5):883-90. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdm585. Epub 2008 Jan 10.

Evaluation of serum HER2 extracellular domain in early breast cancer patients: correlation with clinicopathological parameters and survival.

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  • 1Medical Oncology Division, Azienda Ospedaliera of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.



We explored the correlation between serum human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2) extracellular domain (ECD) and tissue HER2 status, their relationship with clinicopathological parameters and their impact on disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival in early breast cancer patients.


This prospective trial included patients with stage I-III breast cancer. Serum HER2 ECD levels were measured by two enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays before surgical treatment. Tissue HER2 status was analyzed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in all tumors; FISH assay was utilized in HER2 2+ tumors by IHC.


From May 2000 to July 2005, 256 consecutive stage I-III breast cancer patients were included in this study. High serum HER2 ECD levels (>or=15 ng/ml) were reported in 23 patients (9.0%) and HER2-positive status in tumor tissue was observed in 42 patients (16.4%) with a concordance of 87.1%. High HER2 ECD levels were significantly associated with high histological grade (P = 0.003), stage III (P = 0.008), lymph node involvement (P = 0.035) and negativity of both estrogen (P = 0.016) and progesterone (P = 0.007) receptors. At multivariate analysis, high serum HER2 ECD levels were a significant independent prognostic factor of worse DFS (P = 0.009).


A statistically significant association was observed between high serum HER2 ECD levels and worse DFS in early breast cancer patients.

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