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EGFR expression and gene copy number in triple-negative breast carcinoma

EGFR expression and gene copy number in triple-negative breast carcinoma

Cancer Genetics and Cytogenetics 203(2): 222-229

Most basal-like breast carcinomas are estrogen receptor negative, progesterone receptor negative, and cerb-B2/HER-2/neu negative--the so-called triple-negative breast carcinomas--with high epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression, which makes EGFR a target of treatment. We evaluated EGFR expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC) with two different clones (EGFR.31G7 and EGFR.25) and gene copy number by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with Locus specific identifier EGFR/CEP 7 dual probe in 62 triple-negative breast carcinomas. Any complete or incomplete membranous and/or cytoplasmic expression was regarded as IHC positive. Cases showing gene amplification (a ratio of EGFR gene to chromosome 7 of ≥ 2 or 15 copies per cell in ≥ 10% of cells) and high polysomy (≥ 4 copies in ≥ 40% of cells) were considered FISH po sitive. We detected EGFR.31G7 positivity in 38 of 62 cases (61.4%), which was composed of 12 of 62 (19.4%) cytoplasmic, 14 of 62 (22.6%) incomplete membranous, and 12 of 62 (19.4%) complete membranous staining. Among 38 of 49 (77.6%) EGFR.25-positive cases, 7 of 49 (14.3%) exhibited cytoplasmic, 10 of 49 (20.4%) exhibited incomplete membranous, and 21 of 49 (42.9%) exhibited complete membranous staining pattern. Ten of 62 (16.1%) FISH-positive cases were identified; 1 of 62 (1.6%) showed amplification, and the rest showed high polysomy. All FISH-positive cases were also found to be IHC positive (P = 0.01) by both EGFR clones. The amplified case displayed strong complete membranous staining with both clones. Among the high polysomic cases; 4 of 9 (44.4%) incomplete membranous, 4 of 9 (44.4%) complete membranous and 1 of 9 (11.1%) cytoplasmic expression of EGFR.31G7, and 6 of 8 (75%) complete membranous and 2 of 6 (25%) cytoplasmic expression of EGFR.25 were detected. Here, we report that membranous EGFR expression is associated with increased gene copy number (P = 0.035 for EGFR.31G7 and P = 0.026 for EGFR.25 clone). Because the markers to predict anti-EGFR treatment response in other system tumors such as EGFR mutation and amplification seem to be rare events in breast cancer, membranous staining pattern of EGFR might be the best way to decide the patient eligibility for anti-EGFR therapy.

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Accession: 052748010

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PMID: 21156237

DOI: 10.1016/j.cancergencyto.2010.07.118

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