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J Breast Cancer. 2008 Sep;11(3):116-124. Korean. Original Article. https://doi.org/10.4048/jbc.2008.11.3.116
Lee JS , Min WK , Park EH , Lim WS , Choi SL , Son BH , Kim SB , Ahn JH , Ahn SH .
Department of Surgery, University of Ulsan, College of Medicine and Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea. ahnsh@amc.seoul.kr
Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of Ulsan, College of Medicine and Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Oncology, University of Ulsan, College of Medicine and Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.
Abstract

PURPOSE: Serum Her-2/neu is extracted from the extracelluar domain of the Her-2/neu tyrosine kinase to serum. We evaluated the correlation between the Her-2/neu status as determined by immunohistochemical analysis (IHC) and the serum Her-2/neu concentration in a population of Korean women with breast cancer. METHODS: Serum Her-2/neu levels were examined from 254 female patients with primary breast cancer and 38 patients with metastatic breast cancer. Serum Her-2/neu levels were measured by the use of a chemiluminescence immunoassay (ADVIA centaur(R) system) during the preoperative period. The level of Her-2/neu in all of the breast cancer tissue samples was determined by IHC, and samples with an IHC grade +2 were subject to fluorescence in situ (FISH). When tissue samples exhibited IHC grade +3 or showed amplification of Her-2/neu as determined by FISH analysis, Her-2/neu was considered overexpressed. The cut-off value for serum Her-2/neu level was 10.2 ng/mL. RESULTS: The mean serum Her-2/neu level was 10.1 ng/mL in primary breast cancer samples. The serum Her-2/neu concentration significantly correlated with expression of Her-2/neu as determined by tissue IHC analysis (grade 1/3, 9.33+/-1.7 ng/mL; grade 2/3, 8.89+/-1.6 ng/mL; grade 3/3, 12.37+/-4.0 ng/mL, p<0.001). Increased serum HER-2/neu levels were associated with the lymph node status (p=0.003) and hormone unresponsiveness (p<0.001), tumor size (p<0.01) and age group (p<0.001). In metastatic breast cancer samples, the mean serum Her-2/neu level was 13.6 ng/mL. Elevated serum Her-2/neu levels were seen in 71.7% of metastatic breast cancer samples. The serum Her-2/neu level correlated with expression of Her-2/neu in metastatic tissue as determined by IHC analysis (p<0.001) rather than with the Her-2/neu status of the primary breast cancer (p=0.16) CONCLUSION: Serum Her-2/neu appears to be correlate with tissue Her-2/neu expression in primary and metastatic breast cancer where Her-2/neu is overexpressed. Further studies to determine levels of serum Her-2/neu are required to determine cuttoff values and the clinical application of the finding for breast cancer patients in Korea.

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