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FISH for HER-2/neu in breast cancer: Standardization makes the difference!

Author(s): Gokhale Sumita | Gatalica Zoran | Mohammad Amin | Rampy A | Velagaleti Gopalrao V

Journal: Indian Journal of Cancer
ISSN 0019-509X

Volume: 41;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 152;
Date: 2004;
Original page

Keywords: Breast cancer | HER-2/neu | Amplification | IHC | FISH | DCIS | Pathvysion™ | Validation

CONTEXT: Overexpression of HER-2/neu oncogene in breast cancer patients is correlated with disease free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS). The most commonly used methods for the detection of HER-2/neu status are immunohistochemistry (IHC) and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). However, therse is a lot of controversy with regard to the best method. Most of the FISH studies chose arbitrary cut-off levels for positive results (10%) and had no validation. AIM: In order to address these issues, we designed a pilot study of 38 samples with known IHC status representing all 4 categories. SETTINGS AND DESIGN: FISH was performed using Vysis Pathvysion™ probe. For validation, 5 cases of reduction mammoplasty were analyzed using same protocols. RESULTS: Our results showed significant discordance between FISH and IHC. The rate of discordance was much higher in the 0, 1+, and 2+ categories compared to published literature. This could be due to the lower cut-off rates for positive amplification established by validation in our study (5.7% vs 10%). Our analysis showed that FISH positive and IHC negative patients have a poor prognosis in terms of DFS and OS compared to FISH negative and IHC negative patients. Further, our results also showed that IHC in comparison to FISH has a comparable specificity (98%), but has a very low sensitivity (46%). CONCLUSION: Based on these results, we consider FISH to be the gold standard for detecting HER-2/neu status in breast cancer.
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