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Appl Immunohistochem Mol Morphol. 2008 Mar;16(2):179-84. doi: 10.1097/PAI.0b013e31806875e1.

Tissue microarrays for routine diagnostic assessment of HER2 status in breast carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Institute of Oncology Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia.


The use of tissue microarray (TMA) technology may substantially reduce the costs of routine testing of breast carcinomas for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) status. After a preliminary pilot study comparing the TMA results with those obtained on whole section, which showed an excellent agreement (with kappa values >0.90) for both immunohistochemical and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) method, we introduced the TMA technique in our routine work. A total of 1158 invasive breast carcinomas were submitted for the determination of HER2 status, which was assessed in 74 weekly runs. One hundred twenty-five of 1084 surgical specimens (11.5%) were judged as unsuitable for inclusion into TMAs. In 32 of 959 tumors included in TMAs (3.3%), the respective cores were uninformative, and HER2 status was determined on whole sections. Thus, HER2 status was finally determined on TMA in 927 cases (81.1%). A typical weekly run comprised 1 TMA (consisting, on average, of 13 tumors), 2 whole sections of surgical specimens and 1 whole section of core needle biopsy, and the number of processed slides for each method decreased from 16 to 4 per week. In all, 14.7% of tumors were HER2 positive by FISH. In both TMAs and whole sections, immunohistochemical results were in good agreement with FISH for cases scored as 0/1+ (98% and 97%) and for those scored as 3+ (96% and 87%), whereas concordance was poor in cases scored as 2+ (30% and 13%, respectively).

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