MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 53 paired tissue samples from breast cancer patients were frozen-sectioned to characterize the tumour and normal tissues. Only tissues with 80% tumour cells were used in this study. For confirmation, Q-PCR was used to determine the HER-2/neu DNA amplification.
RESULTS: We found 20/53 (37.7%) of the tumour tissues to be positive for HER-2/neu protein overexpression using IHC. Out of these twenty, only 9/53 (17%) cases were in agreement with the Q-PCR results. The concordance rate between IHC and Q-PCR was 79.3%. Approximately 20.7% of positive IHC cases showed no HER-2/neu gene amplification using Q-PCR.
CONCLUSION: In conclusion, IHC can be used as an initial screening method for detection of the HER-2/neu protein overexpression. Techniques such as Q-PCR should be employed to verify the IHC results for uncertain cases as well as determination of HER-2/neu gene amplification.