Prognostic significance of Ep-CAM AND Her-2/neu overexpression in invasive breast cancer

Int J Cancer. 2002 Apr 20;98(6):883-8. doi: 10.1002/ijc.10270.


To assess the frequency and prognostic impact of Ep-CAM and Her-2/neu overexpression in patients with breast cancer and to determine its relationship with other prognostic markers, 205 breast cancer patients with a median follow-up of 10.8 years were enrolled in this retrospective study. Overexpression of Ep-CAM and Her-2/neu in tumor tissue samples was assessed by immunohistochemistry. Tumors presenting a Her-2/neu 2+ staining were additionally analyzed by FISH to exclude false positive results. Ep-CAM and Her-2/neu overexpression was found in 35.6% and 19.5% of the tumor samples, respectively. Both Ep-CAM and Her-2/neu overexpression were predictive for poor disease-free (DFS) and disease-related overall survival (DROS). Concurrent Ep-CAM and Her-2/neu overexpression was present in 13.2% of tumor specimens and had an additive negative impact on DFS and DROS. This minority of patients had a median time to relapse of only 34 months, whereas the median time to relapse was not reached in the patient population without Her-2/neu and Ep-CAM overexpression. By multivariate analysis Ep-CAM overexpression proved to be an indicator of poor prognosis, independent of tumor size, histologic grade, hormone receptor expression and Her-2/neu overexpression. In conclusion, overexpression of Ep-CAM and Her-2/neu complement each other as predictors for poor prognosis in patients with invasive breast cancer. Determination of these tumor markers should help in assigning breast cancer patients to 1 of 3 distinct risk categories.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / metabolism*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • CD3 Complex / genetics
  • CD3 Complex / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / pathology
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / genetics
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / genetics
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism
  • Receptors, Progesterone / metabolism
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CD3 Complex
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Receptor, ErbB-2