Amplification and/or increased expression of the HER-2/neu oncogene has been reported to occur in ovarian tumors and possibly to correlate with biologic behavior and prognosis. The frequency with which amplification is reported to occur is quite variable ranging from 0–30% in different series and this variability is probably accounted for by technical and methodologic factors. The variability and lack of reproducibility has raised questions about the usefulness of assessing amplification of the HER-2/neu oncogene and in particular its clinical relevance. In this study by using strict criteria for amplification and using multiple controls we could demonstrate unequivocal amplification of the HER-2/neu oncogene by Southern blot analysis in only 11% of malignant ovarian tumors. The potential pitfalls with the techniques used to detect HER-2/neu oncogene amplification and overexpression are reviewed and possible ways to overcome some of the problems are suggested.
- ovarian cancer
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