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Gynecol Oncol. 2004 Oct;95(1):89-94.

The prognostic and predictive value of immunohistochemically detected HER-2/neu overexpression in 361 patients with ovarian cancer: a multicenter study.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Freiburg Medical School, Freiburg D-79098, Germany.



The prognostic and predictive relevance of HER-2/neu dysregulation in epithelial ovarian cancer is controversial. The purpose of our study was to document HER-2/neu expression patterns and their correlation with clinicopathologic parameters and survival in a large and biologically homogenous Caucasian patient collective.


Expression of HER-2/neu in ovarian cancer tissue was assessed by immunohistochemistry. Immunohistochemical staining was performed according to established protocols. Results were correlated to clinical data.


HER-2/neu overexpression was detected in 6.9% (25/361) of the tumor samples and was significantly associated with tumor stage (P = 0.03), but not with lymph node involvement (P = 0.5), tumor grade (P = 0.3), histological type (P = 0.6), residual tumor (P = 0.4), serum CA-125 before therapy (P = 0.2), and patient age (P = 0.8). We found no significant influence of HER-2/neu overexpression on overall and disease-free survival independent of FIGO stage, tumor grade, and residual tumor mass. In a subset of 73 suboptimally debulked patients, women with response to first-line chemotherapy (complete remission [CR] + partial remission [PR]) and no response to first-line chemotherapy (stable disease [SD] + progressive disease [PD]) showed significantly different rates of HER-2/neu overexpression (0% [0/51] vs. 14% [3/22]; P = 0.02).


Tumor overexpression of HER-2/neu in women with advanced ovarian cancer is rare and provides no prognostic information in addition to that provided by established clinicopathologic parameters. This multicenter study, however, indicates that HER-2/neu overexpression is a predictive factor for the response to first-line chemotherapy in suboptimally debulked patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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