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Eur J Cancer. 2001 Feb;37(3):347-54.

c-erbB-2 positivity is a factor for poor prognosis in breast cancer and poor response to hormonal or chemotherapy treatment in advanced disease.

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Department of Oncology, University of Oulu, Finland.


The aim of this work was to evaluate the prognostic and predictive values of c-erbB-2 in breast cancer. 650 patients were enrolled. The amplification/overexpression of c-erbB-2 from fresh frozen or paraffin-embedded breast tumour tissue samples was analysed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique (75%), immunohistochemically (17%) or by Southern blot analysis (8%). 126 patients (19%) were positive for c-erbB-2. 148 patients developed metastatic disease, but only 35 were positive for c-erbB-2. Positivity for c-erbB-2 was significantly associated with node positivity, large tumour size, high grade of malignancy, low receptor status, postmenopausal status, and with a shorter overall survival. In multivariate regression analysis, only tumour size and nodal involvement were risk factors for poor survival when analysed separately together with c-erbB-2 and receptor status. Metastatic patients with c-erbB-2 positivity had a significantly shorter survival and disease-free survival (DFS) than the c-erbB-2-negative patients. 29 advanced patients with c-erbB-2 positivity showed a poor response rate to hormonal, non-anthracycline-based and anthracycline-based therapies. Positivity for the c-erbB-2 is a poor prognostic factor in breast cancer, but it also emerges as predictive of the response to hormonal or chemotherapy treatment once the disease has recurred.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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