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Br J Cancer. 2003 May 19;88(10):1587-91.

Agreement between chromogenic in situ hybridisation (CISH) and FISH in the determination of HER2 status in breast cancer.

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Department of Pathology, Centre GF Leclerc, 1 rue Pr Marion, 21034 Dijon cedex, France.


Determination of the HER2/neu (HER2) status in breast carcinoma has become necessary for the selection of breast cancer patients for trastuzumab therapy. Amplification of the gene analysed by fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) or overexpression of the protein determined by immunohistochemistry (IHC) are the two major methods to establish this status. A strong correlation has been previously demonstrated between these two methods. However, FISH is not always feasible in routine practice and weakly positive IHC tumours (2+) do not always correspond to a gene amplification. Our study was performed in order to evaluate the contribution of chromogenic in situ hybridisation (CISH), which enables detection of the gene copies through an immunoperoxidase reaction. CISH was performed in 79 breast carcinomas for which the HER2 status was previously determined by IHC and FISH. The results of IHC, FISH and CISH were compared for each tumour. CISH procedures were successful in 95% of our cases. Whatever the IHC results, we found a very good concordance (96%) between CISH and FISH. Our study confirms that CISH may be an alternative to FISH for the determination of the gene amplification status in 2+ tumours. Our results allow us to think that, in many laboratories, CISH may also be an excellent method to calibrate the IHC procedures or, as a quality control test, to check regularly that the IHC signal is in agreement with the gene status.

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