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Gains of chromosome 17 centromere (CEP17) may be accompanied by gains of chromosome 17q. To evaluate the effect of CEP17 gains (CEP17>3 copies per tumor nucleus) on the expression of the HER2 gene, which is located on chromosome 17q12-21.32, we analyzed HER2 amplification and expression in breast carcinomas with and without CEP17 gains. We isolated tumor nuclei from frozen tissues of 37 breast carcinomas for analysis of the HER2 gene and CEP17 by fluorescence in situ hybridization. HER2 expression was detected by immunohistochemistry (IHC) performed on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded sections of the corresponding tumors. Tumors with amplified HER2 as determined by both HER2 copy number and HER2/CEP17 ratio were detected in 29.7% (11/37). CEP17 gains were significantly associated with HER2 amplification (P=0.005) but not associated with estrogen receptor status, tumor grade, and lymph node status (P>0.05). In contrast, HER2 amplification was significantly associated with estrogen receptor negativity (P=0.020) but not with tumor grade and lymph node status (P>0.05). IHC analysis was performed in 7 HER2-amplified tumors and all of these were IHC 3+, which were used as positive controls. Among HER2-non-amplified tumors with CEP17 gains, only 1 tumor (1/8, 12.5%) was IHC 3+. However, none of the HER2-non-amplified tumors without CEP17 gains was IHC 3+. In HER2-non-amplified tumors, there was no significant association between HER2 protein expression as detected by IHC and CEP17 or HER2 copy number (P=0.999, P=0.785, respectively). These findings indicate that in the absence of HER2 amplification, CEP17 gains do not have a significant effect on HER2 protein expression.


Ravat Panvichian, Anchalee Tantiwetrueangdet, Sansanee Wongwaisayawan, Amporn Nampoon, Panuwat Lertsithichai, Surasak Leelaudomlipi. HER2 expression in breast cancer with nonamplified HER2 and gains of chromosome 17 centromere. Applied immunohistochemistry & molecular morphology : AIMM / official publication of the Society for Applied Immunohistochemistry. 2012 Jul;20(4):367-74

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PMID: 22417858

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