Evaluation of HER-2/neu (erbB-2) status in breast cancer: from bench to bedside

Mod Pathol. 1999 Aug;12(8):827-34.


Molecular alterations in breast cancer are being incorporated into the development of new treatment strategies. The HER-2/neu oncogene has been extensively investigated as a prognostic factor and recently as a predictor of response to chemotherapy or endocrine therapy. The development of a humanized anti-HER-2 monoclonal antibody (Herceptin) and the encouraging results obtained in the treatment of patients with HER-2 overexpressing metastatic breast cancer with this antibody have resulted in renewed interest in HER-2/neu. This article reviews the current knowledge of HER-2/neu both as a prognostic and a predictive factor. Problems associated with the standardization of the methodology for assessing HER-2/neu status and clinically significant cut-off points are addressed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / genetics*
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism
  • Trastuzumab


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • Trastuzumab