c-erb-B2 expression and response to treatment in metastatic breast cancer

Med Oncol. 2000 Feb;17(1):22-8. doi: 10.1007/BF02826212.


The frequency of c-erb-B2 expression, clinical correlates and treatment outcome was investigated in 92 patients with metastatic breast cancer. Positive c-erb-B2 immunostaining was found in 24/92 (26%) of tumours. There was a statistically significant inverse correlation between c-erb-B2 expression and ER status. There was also a significant inverse correlation between c-erb-B2 expression and tumour free interval. c-erb-B2 expression had no influence on response to treatment with tamoxifen among patients co-expressing both c-erb-B2 and estrogen receptor (ER). Following chemotherapy (CAF) treatment there was a trend to a lower response rate among c-erb-B2+ as compared to c-erb-B2- patients. However, more c-erb-B2+ patients had received prior adjuvant chemotherapy, and when this factor was included in a multivariate analysis only prior adjuvant chemotherapy treatment predicted for response to CAF chemotherapy for metastatic disease. Time to treatment failure (TTF) was significantly shorter among cerb B2+ as compared to c-erb-B2- patients. The current study suggests that the c-erb-B2 expression is found at similar frequency in metastatic as in primary breast cancer. Although c-erb-B2 expression did not predict for response to either hormonal therapy or to chemotherapy for metastatic disease, patients with c-erb-B2+ metastatic lesions appear to have a more aggressive clinical course.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Disease Progression
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / administration & dosage
  • Genes, erbB-2 / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / biosynthesis*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • Doxorubicin
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • Fluorouracil

Supplementary concepts

  • CAF protocol