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Serous carcinoma of the uterus—determination of HER-2/neu status using immunohistochemistry, chromogenic in situ hybridization, and quantitative polymerase chain reaction techniques: its significance and clinical correlation
  1. P. Singh*,
  2. C. L. Smith,
  3. G. Cheetham,
  4. T. J. Dodd and
  5. M. L.J. Davy*
  1. * Department of Gynaecology Oncology, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia;
  2. Division of Anatomical Pathology, Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science, Adelaide, South Australia;
  3. Division of Molecular Pathology, Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science, Adelaide, South Australia
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Piksi Singh, MD, Department of Gynaecology Oncology, Royal Adelaide Hospital, North Terrace-5000, Adelaide, South Australia. Email: drpiksi{at}


Uterine serous papillary carcinoma (USPC) are high-grade tumors with Her2 gene expression and poor prognosis. The human gene Her2 is a proto-oncogene that encodes a protein with tyrosine kinase activity. The objective of this study was to determine Her2 protein expression and gene amplification in USPC using three methods: immunohistochemistry (IHC), chromogenic in situ hybridization (CISH), and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (Q-PCR), to compare the three techniques, and to correlate Her2 expression and amplification with clinical outcome. Clinical data were obtained from the records of the patients provided by the database of the Gynaecological Cancer Unit at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Paraffin-embedded tissues of 45 cases were examined using three techniques. Her2 positive rate was 40%. About 13% was strongly positive by all three methods. About 67% Her2 positive patients had advanced-stage disease. Relapse rate was 61% (P= 0.6). Stages I and II had a better survival with negative receptor. Age and stage were major prognostic variables in Cox analysis. Marker status did not reach statistical significance in overall survival (OS) and relapse-free survival (RFS), but had a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.5 in RFS. Five-year OS with Her2 negative was 39%. HR was 0.97 (95% CI 0.46–2.1). RFS was 39% and HR was 1.4 (95% CI 0.65–2.9). The three methods have strong correlation. IHC, 3+ positive cases should be regarded as exhibiting evidence of gene amplification and do not require further testing. Equivocal results require further testing by CISH or PCR. Age and stage are strong prognostic variables and receptor status has a HR of 1.5 in RFS. The therapeutic role of Trastuzumab should be tested in clinical trial setting.

  • chromogenic in situ hybridization (CISH)
  • immunohistochemistry (IHC)
  • overall survival (OS)
  • quantitative polymerase chain reaction (Q-PCR)
  • relapse-free survival (RFS)

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