Send to

Choose Destination
Mod Pathol. 2000 Aug;13(8):866-73.

HER-2/neu testing in breast carcinoma: a combined immunohistochemical and fluorescence in situ hybridization approach.

Author information

Southern California Permanente Medical Group, Regional Reference Laboratories, Immunohistochemistry, North Hollywood 91605, USA.


We evaluated 750 consecutive invasive breast carcinomas for HER-2/neu utilizing a combination of immunohistochemical (IHC) and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) methodologies. IHC reactions of 3+ were considered HER-2/neu positive and 0 and 1+ IHC reactions were considered HER-2/neu negative. IHC reactions of 2+ were considered inconclusive and reflexed to FISH analysis. In addition, a 10% sampling and validation FISH analysis was performed on the positive and negative IHC tests. One hundred thirty-eight cases (18.4%) were HER-2/neu positive by IHC and/or FISH. One hundred twenty-three of the positive cases (89%) were 3+ IHC reactions and 14 positive cases were inconclusive by IHC and amplified by FISH. There was concordance with FISH in 77 of 78 (98.7%) of the positive or negative IHC cases that were tested (95% confidence interval [CI] = 93.1 to 100%). A single IHC-negative case showed HER-2/neu amplification by FISH. Thirty-nine cases were 2+ IHC (5.2%); 14 (36%) were amplified, 24 (62%) were not amplified, and one was not interpretable. HER-2/neu positivity was observed in 34% of grade 3 ductal carcinomas, 11.4% of grade 2 ductal carcinomas, 3.2% of grade 1 ductal carcinomas, and 3.2% of lobular carcinomas. Occasional cases with discordant IHC expression of HER-2/neu within the in situ and invasive carcinoma elements were also identified. IHC reliably characterized HER-2/neu in approximately 95% of the cases studied (95% CI = 93.0 to 96.2%) and was effective as a primary method for evaluating HER-2/neu status. In this study, 2+ IHC reactions were a heterogeneous group best regarded as indeterminate or inconclusive; in this series, only 36% were amplified by FISH analysis. Our findings suggest that a combination of IHC and FISH testing with FISH analysis performed reflexly on all 2+ IHC cases can optimize HER-2/neu testing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center