Prostate cancer is a serious disease affecting men worldwide and treatment compromises the quality of life of prostate cancer patients. We conducted a study of 88 cases of prostate cancer in an attempt to identify prognostic biomarkers that can distinguish aggressive cases that must be treated immediately. HER-2/neu oncogene amplification was initially studied because amplification of this gene has been reported in many other cancers, including those studied in this laboratory. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) using a HER-2/neu gene probe with a chromosome 17 centromere control probe was performed on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues. Of a total of 86 cases successfully analyzed, only 8 (9.3%) were found to be amplified. This frequency was lower than the frequency of amplification found in other cancers studied. Furthermore, no case was found where the level of amplification can be considered high. Only one case was found to have moderate amplification. The rest of the positive cases can all be classified as low amplification. Thus, while we have demonstrated that FISH is a sensitive technique for detecting oncogene amplification, the frequency and level of HER-2/neu amplification detected in prostate cancer seem to be lower than those in most cancers that we studied. In view of the fact that HER-2/neu amplification does not seem to play as significant a role, exploration of other biomarkers in prostate cancer is warranted.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.