Impact of HER2 and PTEN Simultaneous Deregulation in Non-small Cell Lung Carcinoma: Correlation with Biological Behavior

  • Panagiotou, Ioannis (Department of Thoracic Surgery, 401 General Military Hospital) ;
  • Georgiannos, Stavros N. (Department of Breast Cancer Surgery, Blue Cross Hospital) ;
  • Tsiambas, Evangelos (Department of Pathology, Medical School, University of Athens) ;
  • Karameris, Andreas (Department of Pathology, 417 NIMTS Hospital) ;
  • Konstantinou, Marios (2nd Thoracic Surgery Department, Sotiria Chest Diseases Hospital) ;
  • Lazaris, Andreas C. (Department of Pathology, Medical School, University of Athens) ;
  • Kavantzas, Nikolaos (Department of Pathology, Medical School, University of Athens) ;
  • Vilaras, George (Department of Pathology, 417 NIMTS Hospital) ;
  • Patsouris, Efstratios (Department of Pathology, Medical School, University of Athens)
  • Published : 2012.12.31


Background: HER2/neu overexpression due to gene amplification is an important factor in breast cancer, modifying the sensitivity to anti-HER2 monoclonal antibody therapy. The clinical significance of HER2 expression in non small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) is currently under evaluation. The tumor suppressor gene PTEN negatively regulates the HER2/PI3K/Akt signalling pathway. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of simultaneous alteration in HER2 and PTEN protein expression in relation to biological behaviour of NSCLCs. Materials and Methods: Protein expression was determined by immunohistochemistry in sixty-one (n=61) NSCLC cases along with CISH for HER2 gene analysis and detection of chromosome 17 aneuploidy. Patients were followed-up for a period of 34 to 41 months after surgery. Results: HER2 overexpression (2+/3+score) was detected in 17 (27.9%) patients while loss of PTEN expression was observed in 24 (39.3%) cases, low expression in 29 (47.6%) and overexpression in 8 (13.1%). Simultaneous HER2 overexpression and PTEN low/loss of expression were correlated with metastasis (71.4% vs 36.2% p=0.03). Analysis in the subgroup of 22 patients of pTNM stage III with lymph node status N1 or N2 revealed that there was a relationship between the number of positive regional lymph node groups and simultaneous deregulation of the two genes (p=0.04). Multivariate analysis determined that HER2 overexpression was associated with an increasing risk of developing metastases (OR: 4.3; 95%CI: 1.2-15.9; p: 0.03) while PTEN overexpression was associated with lower risk (OR: 0.1; 95%CI: 0.1, 1.0; p: 0.05). Conclusions: Simultaneous HER2/PTEN deregulation is a significant genetic event that leads to a more aggressive phenotype of NSCLC.


HER2/neu;PTEN;non-small cell lung carcinoma;gene


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