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J Clin Oncol. 1999 Sep;17(9):2781-8.

Expression of HER2/erbB-2 correlates with survival in osteosarcoma.

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Departments of Pediatrics, Pathology, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Surgery, Orthopaedic Service, and Pathology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.



In osteosarcoma, prognostic factors at diagnosis other than clinical stage have not been clearly identified. The aim of this study was to determine whether human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)/erbB-2, p-glycoprotein, or p53 expression correlated with histologic response to preoperative chemotherapy or event-free survival.


We performed a retrospective immunohistochemical study on material obtained from patients treated on the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center T12 protocol between 1986 and 1993. Paraffin-embedded tissue was identified from 53 patients (73% of patients enrolled onto protocol) and stained for HER2/erbB-2, p53, and p-glycoprotein expression using standard monoclonal antibodies and methods.


At the time of initial biopsy, 20 (42.6%) of 47 samples demonstrated high levels of HER2/erbB-2 expression. Higher frequencies of expression were observed in samples from patients with metastatic disease at presentation and at the time of relapse. Expression of HER2/erbB-2 correlated with a significantly worse histologic response (P =.03). In patients presenting with nonmetastatic disease, expression of HER2/erbB-2 at the time of initial biopsy was associated with a significantly decreased event-free survival (47% v 79% at 5 years, P =.05). p53 and p-glycoprotein expression did not correlate with histologic response or patient event-free survival.


The correlation of HER2/erbB-2 expression with histologic response to preoperative chemotherapy and event-free survival in this study suggests that HER2/erbB-2 should be evaluated prospectively as a prognostic indicator. The correlation also suggests that clinical trials of antibodies that target this receptor, such as recombinant humanized anti-HER2 monoclonal antibody (Herceptin; Genentech, San Francisco, CA), should be considered for the treatment of osteosarcoma.

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