Purpose: In osteosarcoma, prognostic factors at diagnosis other than clinical stage have not been clearly identified. The aim of this study was to determine whether human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)/erbB-2, p-glycoprotein, or p53 expression correlated with histologic response to preoperative chemotherapy or event-free survival.
Patients and methods: We performed a retrospective immunohistochemical study on material obtained from patients treated on the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center T12 protocol between 1986 and 1993. Paraffin-embedded tissue was identified from 53 patients (73% of patients enrolled onto protocol) and stained for HER2/erbB-2, p53, and p-glycoprotein expression using standard monoclonal antibodies and methods.
Results: At the time of initial biopsy, 20 (42.6%) of 47 samples demonstrated high levels of HER2/erbB-2 expression. Higher frequencies of expression were observed in samples from patients with metastatic disease at presentation and at the time of relapse. Expression of HER2/erbB-2 correlated with a significantly worse histologic response (P =.03). In patients presenting with nonmetastatic disease, expression of HER2/erbB-2 at the time of initial biopsy was associated with a significantly decreased event-free survival (47% v 79% at 5 years, P =.05). p53 and p-glycoprotein expression did not correlate with histologic response or patient event-free survival.
Conclusion: The correlation of HER2/erbB-2 expression with histologic response to preoperative chemotherapy and event-free survival in this study suggests that HER2/erbB-2 should be evaluated prospectively as a prognostic indicator. The correlation also suggests that clinical trials of antibodies that target this receptor, such as recombinant humanized anti-HER2 monoclonal antibody (Herceptin; Genentech, San Francisco, CA), should be considered for the treatment of osteosarcoma.