Dual-color silver-enhanced in situ hybridization for assessing HER2 gene amplification in breast cancer

Modern Pathology : an Official Journal of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, Inc
Young Wha KohGyungyub Gong


Amplification of the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) gene occurs in 20-25% of breast cancers, and is recognized as a prognostic and predictive marker. HER2 gene amplification, evaluated as a change in protein expression or gene copy number, can be identified by a number of methods. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) is considered the gold standard for HER2 gene copy number determination; however, a number of impediments prevent its wider use in a clinical setting. The aims of our study were to compare dual-color silver-enhanced in situ hybridization (SISH) with single-color SISH and FISH on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded sections, and to validate its use as a routine method for assessing HER2 status in breast cancers. A total of 146 invasive breast carcinoma cases were assessed for HER2 gene amplification by FISH and dual-color SISH. Dual-color SISH and FISH results exhibited a concordance rate of 97% (κ=0.912). A comparison of the single-color SISH method with dual-color SISH showed that 142 of 146 cases were in agreement (97%, κ=0.930). Our results showed that dual-color SISH is a viable alternative to FISH that offers a number of advantages in a clinical setting.


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