Accuracy of estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER2 status between core needle and open excision biopsy in breast cancer: a meta-analysis

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012 Aug;134(3):957-67. doi: 10.1007/s10549-012-1990-z. Epub 2012 Feb 28.


Accurate determination of estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PgR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2) status was very important in selecting breast cancer treatment. Discordance of ER, PR, and HER2 status between core needle biopsy (CNB) and open excision biopsy (OEB) varied among reported studies. We performed a meta-analysis to compare the accuracy of CNB with that of OEB for ER, PgR, and HER2 status detection in breast cancer. Medical subject heading (MeSH) terms (Breast Neoplasm) and key words (biopsy OR mammotome) AND (incision OR excision OR surgery) AND (estrogen OR progesterone OR HER2 OR hormone). Patients with HER2 immunohistochemical 3+ or fluorescence in situ hybridization positive were classified into HER2[b] group. A total of 27 studies were eligible in this study. Aggregate positive ER and PgR rate was 80.0 and 69.5% for CNB; and 77.7 and 66.2% for OEB, respectively. The HER2 positive rate difference between CNB and OEB was only 0.2%. The pooled sensitivity of evaluating ER, PgR, and HER2 status in CNB compared with OEB was 0.970, 0.911, and 0.799 (0.813 for HER2[b]), respectively. All of AUC values for these status determination were larger than 0.9. Heterogeneity between studies was introduced by various factors in PgR and HER2[b] analysis. Subgroup analysis showed that the specificity and OR of CNB in studies with ER positive rate >78% was lower than studies with ER positive rate ≤78% (P < 0.05). This meta-analysis indicated that CNB had high diagnostic accuracy in evaluating ER, PgR, and HER2 status compared with OBE in breast cancer patients. In terms of 2-3% positive rate difference, ER and PgR status should be detected both on CNB and OEB samples, especially to retest their expression on CNB in patients with hormonal receptor negative tumors in OEB.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy, Large-Core Needle
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Odds Ratio
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Progesterone / metabolism*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Receptor, ErbB-2