Low HER2-expressing glioblastomas are more often secondary to anaplastic transformation of low-grade glioma

J Neurooncol. 2007 Dec;85(3):281-7. doi: 10.1007/s11060-007-9424-1. Epub 2007 Jun 15.


Background: Anti-Human Epithelial Receptor Type 2 (HER2) antibodies have the ability to induce in vitro apoptosis of glioblastoma (GBM) cells. This study was designed to evaluate the variability of HER2 expression in GBM and its role as a possible prognosis factor.

Methods: Data of 57 patients with GBM and 16 patients with grade III gliomas were retrospectively analyzed. The expression of HER2 was determined by immunohistochemistry and intensity was noted from 0+ to 3+. We compared the HER2 expression in de novo GBM and in GBM resulting from anaplastic transformation of low-grade glioma ("secondary GBM"). Statistical analysis was performed using univariate analysis and the Kaplan-Meier method.

Findings: All GBM expressing highly HER2 (2+ and 3+) were de novo GBM. All secondary GBM expressed HER2 with low intensity (0+ and 1+). Survival time was significantly longer when HER2 expression was low (Log Rank test P = 0.04). The patterns of HER2 expression were similar between grade III gliomas and secondary GBM.

Conclusions: To our best knowledge, our study showed for the first time a significant association between HER2 expression and the type of GBM, with subsequent influence on survival rate. GBM with low-HER2 expression are more likely to be secondary GBM, carrying a better prognosis than de novo GBM.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anaplasia / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism*
  • Glioblastoma / metabolism*
  • Glioblastoma / mortality
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Glioma / metabolism*
  • Glioma / mortality
  • Glioma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis


  • Receptor, ErbB-2