The HER-2/neu transmembrane tyrosine kinase receptor is both a prognostic marker and a therapeutic target for breast cancer. Accurate determination of HER-2/neu status is a prerequisite for selecting breast tumors for HER-2/neu immunotherapy or for taxan based chemotherapy. Unfortunately, there is no consensus concerning how this determination should be reached. We compared assessment of HER-2/neu status using Multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) and immunohistochemistry (IHC). The patient group comprised 60 Indonesian breast cancers patients. IHC was performed on paraffin sections using the CB11 antibody from Novocastra. Results were scored according to the Hercept test. For MLPA, DNA was extracted from frozen samples, PCR amplified with a probe set containing three hemi-primer sets for the HER-2 locus and another nine control probes spread over chromosome 17 and other chromosomes, and analyzed on a gene scanner. A ratio above two for at least two HER-2 locus probes compared to the control probes was regarded as amplification. IHC for HER-2/neu was negative in 36 cases, and 24 cases (40%) showed expression. Seven, eight and nine of the latter cases were 1+, 2+ and 3+ positive, respectively. Forty-seven cases showed no amplification by MLPA, and 13 cases (22%) were amplified. Comparison of IHC and MPLA showed that none of the 36 IHC-negative or seven IHC 1+ cases was amplified. Five of the eight (63%) 2+ cases were amplified, and eight of nine (89%) of the IHC 3+ tumors showed gene amplification by MLPA assay. For HER-2/neu, there is a good correlation between gene amplification detected by MLPA and overexpression by IHC in invasive breast cancer. It appears that MLPA can detect the HER-2 amplified cases in the IHC 2+ class. Because MLPA is quick and inexpensive, it is an attractive method for detecting HER-2/neu amplification in daily laboratory practice.
- Breast cancer
- Polymerase chain reaction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology