Clinicopathologic factors associated with HER2-positive gastric cancer and its impact on survival outcomes--a systematic review

Int J Cancer. 2012 Jun 15;130(12):2845-56. doi: 10.1002/ijc.26292. Epub 2011 Nov 17.


With the availability of a therapeutic target and an effective agent in trastuzumab, a systematic examination of the literature to investigate the role of human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2) as a prognostic factor for survival and its association with clinicopathologic markers may improve treatment. An electronic search of the MEDLINE and PubMed databases (January 1990 to January 2011) was undertaken to identify translational studies that correlated HER2 with clinicopathologic markers and/or survival outcome. This review included 49 studies totaling 11,337 patients. Forty-four percent of patients had Stage I/II, and 56% had Stage III/IV disease. Immunohistochemistry was most commonly used to assess HER2 expression, identifying a median rate of 18% (range, 4-53%) of gastric cancer demonstrating HER2 overexpression. In patients with and without HER2 overexpression, the median 3-year disease-free survival rate was 58% (range, 50-88%) and 86% (range, 62-97%), respectively. Of the 35 studies reporting the impact of HER2 overexpression on survival, 20 studies (57%) reported no difference in overall survival, two studies (6%) reported significantly longer overall survival in patients with HER2 overexpression and 13 studies (37%) reported significantly poorer overall survival in patients with HER2 overexpression. The median overall survival and 5-year survival rate was 21 (range, 10-57) months and 42%, and 33 (range, 13-80) months and 52% in patients with and without HER2 overexpression, respectively. HER2 overexpression appears to be associated with poorer survival and with intestinal-type gastric cancer in this group of patients for whom majority undergone curative gastrectomy.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / biosynthesis*
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism
  • Stomach Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Stomach Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / mortality
  • Trastuzumab


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • ERBB2 protein, human
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • Trastuzumab