Overexpression of c-erbB2 protein correlates with disease-stage and chromosomal gain at the c-erbB2 locus in non-small cell lung cancer

Eur J Cancer. 2001 Jun;37(9):1089-95. doi: 10.1016/s0959-8049(01)00096-x.


Overexpression of the c-erbB2 protein is observed in a variety of malignancies including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We aimed to determine the rate of c-erbB2-overexpression in our tumour collection and to clarify its correlation with the chromosomal status at the c-erbB2 locus 17q21 in NSCLC. Eighty-nine NSCLC were analysed immunohistochemically using a polyclonal c-erbB2 antibody (DAKO). The staining was scored according to the guidelines of the Clinical Trial Assay recommendations (0-3+). Of these, 44 cases were also analysed by comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH). Overexpression was observed in 37% of the cases (score>1) which was associated with higher disease stages and a positive nodal status in adenocarcinomas. Chromosomal gains at 17q21 were clearly correlated with overexpression of the gene (P=0.009). In addition, there was a highly significant correlation between the c-erbB2 expression comparing the whole section immunostaining analysis and a 127 lung tumour tissue array which included 74 of the 89 cases that were analysed by the classical procedure. We conclude that c-erbB2 is a marker of tumour progression in NSCLC which can be observed on protein level and reflects chromosomal alterations at 17q21.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 17 / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Genome, Human
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Ploidies
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism*


  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Receptor, ErbB-2