HER-2/neu oncogene amplification by fluorescence in situ hybridization in epithelial tumors of the ovary

Am J Clin Pathol. 1999 Mar;111(3):311-6. doi: 10.1093/ajcp/111.3.311.


HER-2/neu gene amplification and protein overexpression have been associated with prognosis in breast, lung and prostate cancers but have not been extensively studied in ovarian carcinoma. For the study, we selected 5-micron-thick, formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections from 74 cases of ovarian epithelial tumors of low malignant potential and ovarian carcinoma. Tumors were graded and staged and evaluated for amplification of the HER-2/neu gene by fluorescence in situ hybridization. HER-2/neu amplifications was present in 3 of 13 serous, mucinous, and endometrioid epithelial tumors of low malignant potential and in 40 of 61 epithelial carcinomas. In the carcinoma group, amplification did not correlate with stage, grade, or tumor type. Mean follow-up was 31 months; 1 patient with a low malignant potential tumor and 32 patients with carcinomas died of disease. On univariate and multivariate analysis, survival correlated with stage of disease but not with HER-2/neu amplification. HER-2/neu amplification by fluorescence in situ hybridization can be performed on tissue sections of ovarian neoplasms; amplification is uncommon in ovarian tumors of low malignant potential, but is present in 66% of ovarian epithelial carcinomas. HER-2/neu amplification did not predict outcome in ovarian epithelial neoplasia but may have an important role in tumor development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics*
  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Cell Count
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gene Amplification
  • Genes, erbB-2 / genetics*
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / mortality
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Rate


  • DNA, Neoplasm