Amplification and overexpression of the HER-2 oncogene in breast cancer is felt to be stable over the course of disease and concordant between primary tumor and metastases. Therefore, patients with HER-2-negative primary tumors rarely will receive anti-Her-2 antibody (trastuzumab, Herceptin) therapy. A very sensitive blood test was used to capture circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and evaluate their HER-2 gene status by fluorescence in situ hybridization. The HER-2 status of the primary tumor and corresponding CTCs in 31 patients showed 97% agreement, with no false positives. In 10 patients with HER-2-positive tumors, the HER-2/chromosome enumerator probe 17 ratio in each tumor was about twice that of the corresponding CTCs (mean 6.64 ± 2.72 vs. 2.8 ± 0.6). Hence, the ratio of the CTCs is a reliable surrogate marker for the expected high ratio in the primary tumor. Her-2 protein expression of 10 CTCs was sufficient to make a definitive diagnosis of the HER-2 gene status of the whole population of CTCs in 19 patients with recurrent breast cancer. Nine of 24 breast cancer patients whose primary tumor was HER-2-negative each acquired HER-2 gene amplification in their CTCs during cancer progression, i.e., 37.5% (95% confidence interval of 18.8-59.4%). Four of the 9 patients were treated with Herceptin-containing therapy. One had a complete response and 2 had a partial response.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jun 22 2004|
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