Purpose: We examined associations between tumor characteristics (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 [HER2] protein expression, HER2 gene and chromosome 17 copy number, hormone receptor status) and disease-free survival (DFS) of patients in the N9831 adjuvant trastuzumab trial.
Patients and methods: All patients (N = 1,888) underwent chemotherapy with doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide, followed by weekly paclitaxel with or without concurrent trastuzumab. HER2 status was determined by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) at a central laboratory, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. Patients with conflicting local positive HER2 expression results but normal central laboratory testing were included in the analyses (n = 103).
Results: Patients with HER2-positive tumors (IHC 3+, FISH HER2/centromere 17 ratio ≥ 2.0, or both) benefited from trastuzumab, with hazard ratios (HRs) of 0.46, 0.49, and 0.45, respectively (all P < .0001). Patients with HER2-amplified tumors with polysomic (p17) or normal (n17) chromosome 17 copy number also benefited from trastuzumab, with HRs of 0.52 and 0.37, respectively (P < .006). Patients who received chemotherapy alone and had HER2-amplified and p17 tumors had a longer DFS than those who had n17 (78% v 68%; P = .04), irrespective of hormone receptor status or tumor grade. Patients with HER2-normal tumors by central testing (n = 103) seemed to benefit from trastuzumab, but the difference was not statistically significant (HR, 0.51; P = .14). Patients with hormone receptor-positive or -negative tumors benefited from the addition of trastuzumab, with HRs of 0.42 (P = .005) and 0.60 (P = .0001), respectively.
Conclusion: These results confirm that IHC or FISH HER2 testing is appropriate for patient selection for adjuvant trastuzumab therapy. Trastuzumab benefit seemed independent of HER2/centromere 17 ratio and chromosome 17 copy number.