HER-2/neu amplification is an independent prognostic factor in gastric cancer

Dig Dis Sci. 2006 Aug;51(8):1371-9. doi: 10.1007/s10620-005-9057-1. Epub 2006 Jul 26.


The HER-2/neu protein is intimately involved with normal cell proliferation and tissue growth and is extensively homologous and related to the epidermal growth factor receptor. HER-2/neu protein expression has been most intensively studied in the context of breast carcinoma, in which its amplification and overexpression correlate with the overall course of disease, and with a poor prognosis, and constitute a predictive factor of poor response to chemotherapy and endocrine therapy. In this study, we investigated the relationship between the expression of HER-2/neu and the clinicopathological characteristics of tumors, including survival. This study was performed with a view toward the future introduction of Herceptin therapy for gastric cancer patients. HER-2/neu overexpression and gene amplification was examined with semiquantitative standardized immunohistochemical staining, chromogenic in situ hybridization (CISH), and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) in 182 gastric cancer patients who underwent curative surgery at the Kangbuk Samsung Hospital. Twenty-nine (15.9%) of 182 patients expressed the HER-2/neu protein by immunohistochemistry. HER-2/neu gene amplification was detected in seven patients by CISH and FISH. Intestinal-type cancers exhibited higher rates of HER-2/neu amplification than did diffuse-type cancers (P < 0.05). Tumors with HER-2/neu amplification were associated with poor mean survival rates (922 vs 3243 days) and 5-year survival rates (21.4% vs 63.0%; P < 0.05). Age, TNM stage, and amplification of HER-2/neu were found to be independently related to survival by multivariate analysis. HER-2/neu amplification may constitute an independent prognostic factor in gastric cancer patients, and patients exhibiting HER-2/neu amplification might constitute potential candidates for new adjuvant therapies which involve the use of humanized monoclonal antibodies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Carcinoma / genetics
  • Carcinoma / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • DNA, Neoplasm / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Amplification*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / genetics*
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism
  • Stomach Neoplasms / genetics
  • Stomach Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Receptor, ErbB-2