Clinical Usefulness of a One-Tube Nested Reverse Transcription Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction Assay for Evaluating Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 mRNA Overexpression in Formalin-Fixed and Paraffin-Embedded Breast Cancer Tissue Samples

Hye Young Wang, Sungwoo Ahn, Sunyoung Park, Seungil Kim, Hyeyoung Lee

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-70
Number of pages14
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Feb 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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