A gene-protein assay for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2): brightfield tricolor visualization of HER2 protein, the HER2 gene, and chromosome 17 centromere (CEN17) in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded breast cancer tissue sections

Diagnostic Pathology
Hiroaki NittaThomas M Grogan


The eligibility of breast cancer patients for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-directed therapies is determined by the HER2 gene amplification and/or HER2 protein overexpression status of the breast tumor as determined by in situ hybridization (ISH) or immunohistochemistry (IHC), respectively. Our objective was to combine the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved HER2 & chromosome 17 centromere (CEN17) brightfield ISH (BISH) and HER2 IHC assays into a single automated HER2 gene-protein assay allowing simultaneous detection of all three targets in a single tissue section. The HER2 gene-protein assay was optimized using formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples of the xenograft tumors MCF7 [HER2 negative (non-amplified gene, protein negative)] and Calu-3 [HER2 positive (amplified gene, protein positive)]. HER2 IHC was performed using a rabbit monoclonal anti-HER2 antibody (clone 4B5) and a conventional 3,3'-diaminobenzidine IHC detection. The HER2 & CEN17 BISH signals were visualized using horseradish peroxidase-based silver and alkaline phosphatase-based red detection systems, respectively with a cocktail of 2,4-dinitrophenyl-labeled HER2 and digoxigenin-labeled CEN17 probes. The performance of the...Continue Reading


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