Background: Currently, the two main methods used to analyze human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) amplification or overexpression have a limited accuracy and high costs. These limitations can be overcome by the development of complementary quantitative methods. Methods: In this study, we analyzed HER2 mRNA expression in clinical formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples using a one-tube nested reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) assay. We measured expression relative to 3 reference genes and compared the results to those obtained by conventional immunohistochemistry (IHC) and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assays with 226 FFPE breast cancer tissue samples. Results: The one-tube nested RT-qPCR assay proved to be highly sensitive and specific based on comparisons with IHC (96.9 and 97.7%, respectively) and FISH (92.4 and 92.9%, respectively) obtained with the validation set. Comparisons with clinicopathological data revealed significant associations between HER2 overexpression and TNM stage (p < 0.01), histological type (p < 0.01), ER status (p < 0.001), PR status (p < 0.05), HER2 status (p < 0.001), and molecular subtypes (p < 0.001). Conclusion: Based on these findings, our one-tube nested RT-qPCR assay is a potentially useful and complementary screening tool for the detection of HER2 mRNA overexpression.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology