Quantitative measurements of tumoral p95HER2 protein expression in metastatic breast cancer patients treated with trastuzumab: independent validation of the p95HER2 clinical cutoff

Clin Cancer Res. 2014 May 15;20(10):2805-13. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-2782. Epub 2014 Mar 25.


Purpose: P95HER2 (p95) is a truncated form of the HER2, which lacks the trastuzumab-binding site and contains a hyperactive kinase domain. Previously, an optimal clinical cutoff of p95 expression for progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) was defined using a quantitative VeraTag assay (Monogram Biosciences) in a training set of trastuzumab-treated metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients.

Experimental design: In the current study, the predictive value of the p95 VeraTag assay cutoff established in the training set was retrospectively validated for PFS and OS in an independent series of 240 trastuzumab-treated MBC patients from multiple institutions.

Results: In the subset of 190 tumors assessed as HER2-total (H2T)-positive using the quantitative HERmark assay (Monogram Biosciences), p95 VeraTag values above the predefined cutoff correlated with shorter PFS (HR = 1.43; P = 0.039) and shorter OS (HR = 1.94; P = 0.0055) where both outcomes were stratified by hormone receptor status and tumor grade. High p95 expression correlated with shorter PFS (HR = 2.41; P = 0.0003) and OS (HR = 2.57; P = 0.0025) in the hormone receptor-positive subgroup of patients (N = 78), but not in the hormone receptor-negative group. In contrast with the quantitative p95 VeraTag measurements, p95 immunohistochemical expression using the same antibody was not significantly correlated with outcomes.

Conclusions: The consistency in the p95 VeraTag cutoff across different cohorts of patients with MBC treated with trastuzumab justifies additional studies using blinded analyses in larger series of patients.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / immunology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / immunology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / genetics
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / immunology
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Progesterone / metabolism
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trastuzumab
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • Trastuzumab