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Am J Clin Pathol. 2003 Dec;120 Suppl:S53-71.

HER-2/neu testing in breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Albany Medical College, NY 12208, USA.


The testing of newly diagnosed breast cancer specimens for HER-2/neu status has achieved "standard of practice" status for the management of breast cancer in the United States. The discussion as to the best method to determine HER-2/neu status in these samples continues, with the fluorescence in situ hybridization method gaining popularity owing to the recent evidence that it, in comparison with immunohistochemical analysis, might more accurately predict clinical responses to trastuzumab-based therapies. With trastuzumab achieving excellent results in the treatment of HER-2/neu-positive advanced disease and under extensive evaluation in major clinical trials for its potential efficacy when used at earlier clinical stages, the potential role(s) for HER-2/neu testing as a predictor of response to other therapies being resolved by large prospective clinical outcome studies, and the more convenient gene-based chromogenic in situ hybridization technique "waiting in the wings," the saga of HER-2/neu testing in breast cancer will continue to unfold over the next several years.

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