Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 overexpression in breast cancer of patients with anti-Yo--associated paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration

Neuro Oncol. 2012 Apr;14(4):506-10. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/nos006. Epub 2012 Feb 20.


Isolated case reports suggest that breast tumors from patients with paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration (PCD) and Yo antibodies overexpress human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). HER2 overexpression is present in 15%-25% of breast cancers and is associated with poor prognosis. We retrospectively analyzed the status of HER2 in breast tumors of 27 patients with anti-Yo-associated PCD to evaluate whether HER2 overexpression in this group of patients is higher than expected. In addition, we analyzed HER2 status of 19 breast tumors from patients with paraneoplastic neurological syndromes and Ri antibodies to see whether HER2 was specifically related to anti-Yo-associated PCD. We also assessed cdr2 expression (the onconeural antigen recognized by Yo antibodies) in 21 HER2-positive breast tumors from patients without paraneoplastic neurological syndromes. HER2 was overexpressed in 26 patients (96.3%) with anti-Yo-associated PCD but only in 2 patients (10.5%) with paraneoplastic neurological syndromes associated with Ri antibodies (P< .0001). Only 5 (23.8%) of the 21 HER2-positive breast tumors showed cdr2 immunoreactivity. This study shows a very high frequency of HER2 overexpression in breast cancers in patients with anti-Yo-associated PCD but not in those from patients with Ri antibodies. Although the expression of cdr2 onconeural antigen is not high in HER2-positive breast cancers, HER2 overexpression seems to be an important requirement to develop an anti-Yo-associated PCD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / immunology
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / immunology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Neuro-Oncological Ventral Antigen
  • Paraneoplastic Cerebellar Degeneration / genetics
  • Paraneoplastic Cerebellar Degeneration / immunology
  • Paraneoplastic Cerebellar Degeneration / metabolism*
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes, Nervous System / genetics
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes, Nervous System / immunology
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes, Nervous System / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / immunology
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / genetics
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • CDR2 protein, human
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neuro-Oncological Ventral Antigen
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • ERBB2 protein, human
  • Receptor, ErbB-2