Prognostic Significance of Human Epidermal Receptor (HER)-3 Immunohistochemical Expression in Patients with Metastatic Breast Cancer

  • Olmez, Omer Fatih (Department of Medical Oncology, Uludag University Medical School) ;
  • Evrensel, Turkkan (Department of Medical Oncology, Uludag University Medical School) ;
  • Cubukcu, Erdem (Department of Medical Oncology, Uludag University Medical School) ;
  • Ugras, Nesrin (Department of Pathology, Uludag University Medical School) ;
  • Avci, Nilufer (Department of Medical Oncology, Uludag University Medical School) ;
  • Canhoroz, Mustafa (Department of Medical Oncology, Uludag University Medical School) ;
  • Deligonul, Adem (Department of Medical Oncology, Uludag University Medical School) ;
  • Hartavi, Mustafa (Department of Medical Oncology, Uludag University Medical School) ;
  • Olmez, Fatma (Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sevket Yilmaz Education and Research Hospital) ;
  • Cubukcu, Sinem (Department of Medical Oncology, Uludag University Medical School) ;
  • Tolunay, Sahsine (Department of Pathology, Uludag University Medical School) ;
  • Kurt, Ender (Department of Medical Oncology, Uludag University Medical School) ;
  • Kanat, Ozkan (Department of Medical Oncology, Uludag University Medical School) ;
  • Manavoglu, Osman (Department of Medical Oncology, Uludag University Medical School)
  • Published : 2013.07.30


Background: Previous reports have shown that human epidermal receptor (HER)-3 overexpression may be associated with poor prognosis in patients with breast cancer, but results have been conflicting. In this study, we sought to investigate the prognostic significance of HER-3 immunohistochemical expression in patients with metastatic breast cancer. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed HER-3 immunohistochemical expression profiles in 45 paraffin-embedded specimens from patients who had been treated between 1996 and 2006 in the Department of Oncology of the Uludag University School of Medicine, Bursa, Turkey. Membranous or cytoplasmic dominant expression patterns of HER-3 were analyzed using the Rajkumar score and a cytoplasmic 4-point scoring system, respectively. Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) served as the main outcome measures. Results: The median PFS in the study participants was 9 months (interquartile range: 4.5-13 months), whereas the median OS was 20 months (interquartile range: 7.5-28 months). Categorization of the patient population according to HER-3 positive immunohistochemical expression did not reveal any statistically significant difference in terms of both PFS (p=0.70) and OS (p=0.81). The results of multivariable Cox regression analysis indicated that tumor size was the only independent predictor of PFS, whereas estrogen and progesterone receptor status was independently associated with OS. Conclusions: HER-3 immunohistochemical expression did not correlate with outcomes in Turkish patients with metastatic breast cancer. Although our results suggest that HER-3 expression in cancer specimens is not of prognostic significance, further prospective studies are warranted to confirm these results.


Metastatic breast cancer;human epidermal receptor-3;immunohistochemistry;survival


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