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Oncology. 2005;68(2-3):154-61. Epub 2005 Jul 11.

HER2/neu oncoprotein overexpression in epithelial ovarian cancer: evaluation of its prevalence and prognostic significance. Clinical study.

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Academic Department of Medical Oncology, National Cancer Research Institute, Genoa, Italy.



The HER2/neu proto-oncogene encodes a transmembrane receptor protein involved in the development and progression of the majority of cancers. Prior studies have shown that HER2/neu oncogene is overexpressed in approximately 15-30% of ovarian carcinomas. However findings regarding the overexpression and prognosis are still conflicting.


Our retrospective study was performed on 194 ovarian carcinoma tissues obtained at the time of first surgery. The staining procedure for HER2/neu overexpression was performed using a polyclonal antibody.


HER2/neu overexpression was found in 53 out of 194 (27.3%) investigated cases of which 26 (13.4%) carcinomas were weakly positive (score 1+) and 27 (13.9%) moderately (score 2+) to intensely positive (score 3+). No significant relationship was found between HER2/neu score and main clinical and pathological features. Significant difference in overall survival was evident between negative women (0/1+) and positive women (2+/3+): 48 and 29 months, respectively (p = 0.04). In multivariate analysis HER2/neu overexpression appeared to be the only variable significantly correlated with progression and death. CA125 normalization at 3 and 6 months appeared a strong predictor of progression and survival.


In this study HER2/neu overexpression was associated with an increased risk of progression and death, especially among women with FIGO Stage I and II ovarian carcinoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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