Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Clin Pathol. 2000 May;53(5):374-81.

Laboratory assessment of the status of Her-2/neu protein and oncogene in breast cancer specimens: comparison of immunohistochemistry assay with fluorescence in situ hybridisation assays.

Author information

Department of Pathology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas 75235-9072, USA.



To evaluate the clinical usefulness of three commercially available assays for Her-2/neu oncogene and protein measurements. The Her-2/neu protein is overexpressed, mostly as a result of gene amplification, in 20-30% of human breast cancers, and has been shown to have prognostic and predictive value for treatment with chemotherapy or the new monoclonal antibody, Herceptin.


An immunohistochemistry (IHC) assay using the Dako polyclonal antibody A0485, which measures the Her-2/neu protein, was compared with two new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) assays--INFORM and PathVysion, in a cohort of 52 formalin fixed, paraffin wax embedded breast tissues. These tissues were selected randomly from 84 consecutive infiltrating breast cancer specimens, which were first stratified according to the Her-2/neu protein levels as measured by IHC.


The two FISH assays achieved a 98% concordance rate: 14 specimens (27%) showed Her-2/neu gene amplification and 37 specimens (71%) showed no Her-2/neu gene amplification. The PathVysion assay had certain advantages over the INFORM assay. In contrast, the IHC assay detected Her-2/neu overexpression in a high percentage of cases, including 13 high positive specimens (25%) and 13 medium positive specimens (25%). Although 10 of these 13 IHC high positive specimens showed gene amplification by FISH, nine of 13 IHC medium positive specimens showed no gene amplification. Statistical analyses showed that the differences between IHC and FISH assays were primarily in the specimens with medium positive IHC, but negative FISH results.


Because of the increasing importance of the Her-2/neu oncogene and oncoprotein in the clinical management of patients with breast cancer, the accurate and consistent evaluation of Her-2/neu status is crucial. This study suggests that the best approach is to combine both IHC and FISH assays; that is, to use the IHC assay as a triage step, followed by the PathVysion FISH assay to analyse the IHC medium and high positive cases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center