Her-2/neu and breast cancer

Diagn Mol Pathol. 2001 Sep;10(3):139-52. doi: 10.1097/00019606-200109000-00001.


Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women in the United States in the year 2000. The proto-oncogene Her-2/neu (c-erb-B2) has become an increasingly important prognostic and predictive factor in breast cancer. Overexpression/amplification of the Her-2/neu has been associated with a worse outcome in patients with breast cancer. Herceptin, a "humanized" murine monoclonal antibody directed against the extracellular domain of the Her-2/neu protein, is being used to treat breast cancer that overexpresses Her-2/neu. The status of Her-2/neu in the tumor has become a critical factor in the management strategy of a breast cancer patient. The objective of this article is to provide a comprehensive review of all aspects of Her-2/neu in breast cancer, including biology, prognostic and predictive value, targeted Herceptin therapy, and the laboratory testing of Her-2/neu.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy
  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Gene Amplification
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / immunology
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism*
  • Trastuzumab


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