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HER-2/neu expression in locally advanced breast carcinomas: pre-and post-neoadjuvant chemotherapy



HER-2/neu expression in locally advanced breast carcinomas: pre-and post-neoadjuvant chemotherapy



Breast Cancer 12(4): 294-298



Clinical studies have shown a correlation of HER-2/neu amplification/over-expression and favorable response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy and anti-HER-2/neu antibody treatment. However, contradictory findings also have been reported. Some tumors may develop resistance to neoadjuvant chemotherapy after an initial period of sensitivity. Our study attempts to evaluate the effects of neoadjuvant chemotherapy on HER-2/neu status in locally advanced breast cancer. Thirty-nine patients with locally advanced breast cancers established by core needle biopsy received neoadjuvant chemotherapy and were compared with 60 patients with breast cancers who did not receive neoadjuvant chemotherapy. IHC for HER-2/neu was performed on paraffin sections of the core biopsy before treatment and the excised specimen following chemotherapy and scored as Negative (0-1+), 2+ and 3+. The results of the study and the controls were compared and analyzed using Fisher's exact test. HER-2/neu IHC scores decreased in 28.5% (15/39) of patients receiving neo-adjuvant chemotherapy compared to 11.7% (7/60) of patients in the control (p < 0.013). HER-2/neu IHC status changed from strongly positive to negative (3+ to 0) in five of 39 (12.5%) in the study group and in 2 of 60 (3.3%) in control group (p = 0.104). For patients receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy in whom the tumor becomes refractory to chemotherapy or recurs, repeat testing for HER-2/neu status may be necessary. Elimination of HER-2/neu positive tumor cells may account for the changes in the IHC scores and the development of resistance to neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

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Accession: 049180350

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PMID: 16286910


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