Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Clin Breast Cancer. 2013 Feb;13(1):53-60. doi: 10.1016/j.clbc.2012.09.011. Epub 2012 Oct 26.

Influence of neoadjuvant chemotherapy on HER2/neu status in invasive breast cancer.

Author information

  • 1State Key Laboratory of Cancer Biology, Department of Pathology, Xijing Hospital and School of Basic Medicine, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, P.R. China.



Reliably estimating HER2/neu expression in breast cancer is important for predicting patient prognosis and optimizing adjuvant therapeutic strategies. In this retrospective cohort study, effects of NAC on HER2/neu status in invasive breast cancer were evaluated, and the related factors were analyzed.


One hundred thirty-one patients with primary breast cancer were treated with anthracycline- and/or taxane-based NAC. HER2/neu status was evaluated by IHC on core needle biopsies of primary tumors before NAC and surgical resection specimens of post-NAC residual breast cancers or tumor-positive axillary lymph nodes. Thirty-two pairs of specimens with discordant HER2/neu IHC scores were analyzed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH).


A significant difference in HER2/neu status by IHC between core needle biopsies and surgical resection specimens in patients receiving NAC was observed. After NAC, 23.4% (29 of 124) of tumors showed downregulated HER2/neu expression by IHC. Alterations of HER2/neu IHC scores did not significantly correlate with tumor subtype, pathologic response to NAC, adjuvant regimen, or time interval from the last chemotherapy to surgery. HER2/neu protein overexpression level was associated with favorable pathologic response to anthracycline and taxane-based chemotherapy. However, tumors with altered HER2/neu IHC scores after NAC revealed stable HER2/neu gene amplification/nonamplification by FISH analysis.


Neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast carcinoma resulted in the HER2/neu status alteration by IHC, but they have stable gene amplification status by FISH. HER2/neu protein overexpression indicated greater sensitivity to neoadjuvant anthracycline- and taxane-based chemotherapy. Thus, retesting HER2/neu IHC status in residual tumors after NAC should be considered in order to optimize adjuvant systemic therapy.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk