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Cancer Treat Rev. 2006 May;32(3):180-90. Epub 2006 Feb 17.

Prognostic, predictive and therapeutic implications of HER2 in invasive epithelial ovarian cancer.

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  • 1Division of Clinical Research, National Institute of Cancerology, Mexico.


The HER2 oncogene encodes a transmembrane protein partially homologous to epidermal growth factor receptor. This oncogene has been studied mainly in breast cancer where it has prognostic, predictive and therapeutic target value. The expression of HER2 in epithelial ovarian cancer has been less studied. HER2 expression can be determined through IHC, FISH, CISH and ELISA among other tests, with reported positivity frequencies of overexpression varying from 1.8% to 76%. In some studies HER2 overexpression has been associated with advanced stages, poorly differentiated tumors, resistance to chemotherapy and shortened survival. Although trastuzumab is able to produce a low response rate as a single agent in pretreated ovarian cancer patients with overexpression of HER2, its usefulness is limited due to the low frequency of strong expression. To date there is not enough bases for assessment and HER2-based therapies in epithelial ovarian cancer.

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