Quantum dots-based double-color imaging of HER2 positive breast cancer invasion

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2011 Jun 10;409(3):577-82. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2011.05.052. Epub 2011 May 15.


It has been well recognized that human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) level in breast cancer (BC) is closely related to the malignant biologic behaviors of the tumor, including invasion and metastasis. Yet, there has been a lack of directly observable evidence to support such notion. Here we report a quantum dots (QDs)-based double-color imaging technique to simultaneously show the HER2 level on BC cells and the type IV collagen in the tumor matrix. In benign breast tumor, the type IV collagen was intact. With the increasing of HER2 expression level, there has been a progressive decrease in type IV collagen around the cancer nest. At HER2 (3+) expression level, there has virtually been a total destruction of type IV collagen. Moreover, HER2 (3+) BC cells also show direct invasion into the blood vessels. This novel imaging method provides direct observable evidence to support the theory that the HER2 expression level is directly related to BC invasion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Vessels / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Collagen Type IV / analysis
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Paraffin Embedding
  • Quantum Dots*
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / analysis
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / biosynthesis*
  • Tissue Embedding


  • Collagen Type IV
  • ERBB2 protein, human
  • Receptor, ErbB-2