HER2 is unlikely to be involved in directly regulating angiogenesis in human breast cancer

Appl Immunohistochem Mol Morphol. 2006 Jun;14(2):138-45. doi: 10.1097/01.pai.0000168591.58721.a6.


Angiogenesis is a fundamental component of oncogenesis. Angiogenic factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and platelet derived-endothelial cell growth factor/thymidine phosphorylase (PD-ECGF/TP) are generated from tumor cells to provide tumor growth and are thought to be regulated via the HER2 oncogene, whose amplification is the most common genetic alteration in breast cancer. The present study aimed to evaluate the immunoreactivity of angiogenic factors (VEGF, PD-ECGF/TP) and microvessel density (MVD) via epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and HER2, and to correlate their expression with clinicopathologic features. Two hundred one invasive human breast cancer specimens were tested immunohistochemically for the expression of these proteins. In addition, MVD was examined using computerized image analysis. VEGF could be an additional interesting prognostic variable, as it was significantly associated with tumor grade (P=0.002), stage (P=0.018), and negative estrogen receptor status (P=0.011). EGFR was significantly related to invasive ductal carcinoma (P=0.030), tumor grade (P=0.009), VEGF expression (P=0.013), PD-ECGF/TP expression (P=0.024), and MVD (P=0.050). The finding that VEGF is not correlated to MVD does not rule out a crucial role of VEGF as a key factor in angiogenesis. HER2 could not be correlated to MVD, VEGF expression, or PD-ECGF/TP expression, indicating that this factor is unlikely to be involved in directly regulating angiogenesis, whereas the significant correlations between EGFR and histologic tumor type, tumor grade, the angiogenic factors VEGF and PD-ECGF/TP, and MVD point out that EGF is the major modulating growth factor for angiogenesis in breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inducing Agents / analysis
  • Angiogenesis Inducing Agents / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / etiology*
  • Prognosis
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / physiology*
  • Receptors, Growth Factor / analysis
  • Receptors, Growth Factor / classification
  • Receptors, Growth Factor / metabolism*
  • Up-Regulation


  • Angiogenesis Inducing Agents
  • Receptors, Growth Factor
  • Receptor, ErbB-2