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Med Oncol. 2012 Jun;29(2):933-40. doi: 10.1007/s12032-011-9850-y. Epub 2011 Feb 13.

Analysis of HER2 gene amplification and protein expression in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.

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Department of Pathology, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, 430060 Wuhan, Hubei, China.


The HER2 gene, which is located on chromosomes 17, is a therapeutic target for cancer. Amplification of HER2 has been described in several tumor types. However, few studies of HER2 gene amplification and protein expression in esophageal carcinoma have been conducted. This study was to investigate the relationship between the expression of HER2/neu and the clinical characteristics, including survival rate, of esophageal squamous carcinoma. The clinical data of 145 patients admitted in Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, from 2000 to 2005, were reviewed. The HER2 protein expression and gene status in 145 esophageal carcinomas were evaluated using immunohistochemistry and fluorescence in situ hybridization. The survival rate was calculated by the Kaplan-Meier method and the log-rank test using SPSS13.0 software. Compared to normal esophageal epithelium (23/95, 24.2%), HER2 protein was overexpressed in most esophageal squamous carcinoma tissues (60/145, 41.4%), of which 45 (31.0%) were 2+ and 15 (10.4%) were 3+, HER2 overexpression associated significantly with HER2 gene amplification. There is a correlation between the overexpression of HER2 and the differentiation of the carcinoma, the HER2 gene amplification and the differentiation of the carcinoma and the tumor stage. According to univariate analysis, there was a significant difference in survival rates when cases with and without HER-2/neu overexpression or amplification were compared. HER-2/neu amplification/overexpression may be used as an independent prognostic factor in patients with esophageal squamous cancer, and patients with HER-2/neu amplification/overexpression might be potential candidates for new adjuvant therapies that involve the use of humanized monoclonal antibodies.

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