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J Neurooncol. 2007 Dec;85(3):281-7. Epub 2007 Jun 15.

Low HER2-expressing glioblastomas are more often secondary to anaplastic transformation of low-grade glioma.

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Department of Neurosurgery, University Medical Center, Hospital Roger Salengro, 59037 Lille, France.



Anti-Human Epithelial Receptor Type 2 (HER2) antibodies have the ability to induce in vitro apoptosis of glioblastoma (GBM) cells. This study was designed to evaluate the variability of HER2 expression in GBM and its role as a possible prognosis factor.


Data of 57 patients with GBM and 16 patients with grade III gliomas were retrospectively analyzed. The expression of HER2 was determined by immunohistochemistry and intensity was noted from 0+ to 3+. We compared the HER2 expression in de novo GBM and in GBM resulting from anaplastic transformation of low-grade glioma ("secondary GBM"). Statistical analysis was performed using univariate analysis and the Kaplan-Meier method.


All GBM expressing highly HER2 (2+ and 3+) were de novo GBM. All secondary GBM expressed HER2 with low intensity (0+ and 1+). Survival time was significantly longer when HER2 expression was low (Log Rank test P = 0.04). The patterns of HER2 expression were similar between grade III gliomas and secondary GBM.


To our best knowledge, our study showed for the first time a significant association between HER2 expression and the type of GBM, with subsequent influence on survival rate. GBM with low-HER2 expression are more likely to be secondary GBM, carrying a better prognosis than de novo GBM.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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