Analytical and clinical validation of PATHWAY Anti-HER-2/neu (4B5) antibody to assess HER2-low status for trastuzumab deruxtecan treatment in breast cancer

Virchows Arch. 2024 Jun;484(6):1005-1014. doi: 10.1007/s00428-023-03671-x. Epub 2023 Oct 20.


In DESTINY-Breast04 (DB-04), safety and efficacy of HER2-targeted antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) trastuzumab deruxtecan (T-DXd) in previously treated HER2-low unresectable/metastatic breast cancer were established. This manuscript describes the analytical validation of PATHWAY Anti-HER2/neu (4B5) Rabbit Monoclonal Primary Antibody (PATHWAY HER2 (4B5)) to assess HER2-low status and its clinical performance in DB-04. Preanalytical processing and tissue staining parameters were evaluated to determine their impact on HER2 scoring. The recommended antibody staining procedure provided the optimal tumor staining, and deviations in cell conditioning and/or antibody incubation times resulted in unacceptable negative control staining and/or HER2-low status changes. Comparisons between antibody lots, kit lots, instruments, and day-to-day runs showed overall percent agreements (OPAs) exceeding 97.9%. Inter-laboratory reproducibility showed OPAs of ≥97.4% for all study endpoints. PATHWAY HER2 (4B5) was utilized in DB-04 for patient selection using 1340 tumor samples (59.0% metastatic, 40.7% primary, (0.3% missing data); 74.3% biopsy, 25.7% resection/excisions). Overall, 77.6% (823/1060) of samples were HER2-low by both central and local testing, with the level of concordance differing by sample region of origin and collection date. In DB-04, the efficacy of T-DXd over chemotherapy of physician's choice was consistent, regardless of the characteristics of the sample used (primary or metastatic, archival, or newly collected, biopsy or excision/resection). These results demonstrate that PATHWAY HER2 (4B5) is precise and reproducible for scoring HER2-low status and can be used with multiple breast cancer sample types for reliably identifying patients whose tumors have HER2-low expression and are likely to derive clinical benefit from T-DXd.

Keywords: 4B5; Breast cancer; Companion diagnostic; HER2-low.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Camptothecin* / analogs & derivatives
  • Camptothecin* / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoconjugates* / therapeutic use
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Receptor, ErbB-2* / analysis
  • Receptor, ErbB-2* / metabolism
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Trastuzumab* / therapeutic use


  • Trastuzumab
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • trastuzumab deruxtecan
  • ERBB2 protein, human
  • Immunoconjugates
  • Camptothecin
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized