Discrepancies in clinical laboratory testing of eligibility for trastuzumab therapy

Apparent immunohistochemical false-positives do not get the message

Raymund R. Tubbs, J. D. Pettay, P. C. Roche, M. H. Stoler, Robert Brian Jenkins, T. M. Grogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

329 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Several studies have reported what seem to be false-positive results using the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved HercepTest (Dako Corp, Carpinteria, CA) to profile Her-2/neu amplification and overproduction in breast carcinoma. False-positive status has been based on comparisons with gene copy enumeration by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and with comparisons to immunohisto-chemistry (IMH) results using a monoclonal antibody. However, simple overexpression by tumor cells that have normal gene copy has not been evaluated by profiling mRNA expression, ie, such cases could simply represent true-positive, transcriptionally upregulated overexpression. Materials and Methods: Four hundred infiltrating ductal carcinomas of breast were evaluated by IMH using monoclonal (CB 11; Ventana Medical Systems, Inc, Tucson, AZ) and polyclonal (HercepTest; Dako) antibodies after antigen retrieval (AR). A polyclonal antibody sans AR (PCA/SAR) was also used. All IMH stains were evaluated and scored according to the guidelines for the FDA-approved HercepTest. A total of 145 of 400 carcinomas were subsequently evaluated by direct and digoxigenin-labeled (Dig) FISH, and 144 of 400 were evaluated by detection of mRNA overexpression via autoradiographic RNA:RNA in situ hybridization. Results: Overall HercepTest/CB11 IMH discordance was 12%. Expression of mRNA was highly concordant with FISH and DigFISH amplification and with CB11 and PCA/SAR immunohistology. IMH false-positive cases (no Her-2/neu gene amplification) occurred with both HercepTest (23%) and CB11 (17%), and the majority of false-positive results (34 of 44) were scored as 2+. All 2+ false-positive cases were mRNA-negative. Combined results of HercepTest and CB11 showed that 79% (38 of 48) of 3+ cases were Her-2/neu gene amplified, but only 17% (seven of 41) of 2+ cases had increased gene copy. Conclusion: Discordant HercepTest/FISH results, and to a lesser extent discordance with CB11 IMH, are most commonly false-positive results with a score of 2+. The 2+ score as defined in the guidelines for the FDA-approved HercepTest should not be used as a criterion for trastuzumab therapy unless confirmed by FISH. Determination of Her-2 gene copy number by FISH may be a more accurate and reliable method for selecting patients eligible for trastuzumab therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2714-2721
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Volume19
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2001

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Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization
United States Food and Drug Administration
erbB-2 Genes
Messenger RNA
Antibodies
Therapeutics
Guidelines
RNA
Genes
Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast
Antigens
Digoxigenin
Gene Dosage
Gene Amplification
In Situ Hybridization
Trastuzumab
Coloring Agents
Monoclonal Antibodies
Breast Neoplasms
Carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

Cite this

Discrepancies in clinical laboratory testing of eligibility for trastuzumab therapy : Apparent immunohistochemical false-positives do not get the message. / Tubbs, Raymund R.; Pettay, J. D.; Roche, P. C.; Stoler, M. H.; Jenkins, Robert Brian; Grogan, T. M.

In: Journal of Clinical Oncology, Vol. 19, No. 10, 15.05.2001, p. 2714-2721.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Background: Several studies have reported what seem to be false-positive results using the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved HercepTest (Dako Corp, Carpinteria, CA) to profile Her-2/neu amplification and overproduction in breast carcinoma. False-positive status has been based on comparisons with gene copy enumeration by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and with comparisons to immunohisto-chemistry (IMH) results using a monoclonal antibody. However, simple overexpression by tumor cells that have normal gene copy has not been evaluated by profiling mRNA expression, ie, such cases could simply represent true-positive, transcriptionally upregulated overexpression. Materials and Methods: Four hundred infiltrating ductal carcinomas of breast were evaluated by IMH using monoclonal (CB 11; Ventana Medical Systems, Inc, Tucson, AZ) and polyclonal (HercepTest; Dako) antibodies after antigen retrieval (AR). A polyclonal antibody sans AR (PCA/SAR) was also used. All IMH stains were evaluated and scored according to the guidelines for the FDA-approved HercepTest. A total of 145 of 400 carcinomas were subsequently evaluated by direct and digoxigenin-labeled (Dig) FISH, and 144 of 400 were evaluated by detection of mRNA overexpression via autoradiographic RNA:RNA in situ hybridization. Results: Overall HercepTest/CB11 IMH discordance was 12{\%}. Expression of mRNA was highly concordant with FISH and DigFISH amplification and with CB11 and PCA/SAR immunohistology. IMH false-positive cases (no Her-2/neu gene amplification) occurred with both HercepTest (23{\%}) and CB11 (17{\%}), and the majority of false-positive results (34 of 44) were scored as 2+. All 2+ false-positive cases were mRNA-negative. Combined results of HercepTest and CB11 showed that 79{\%} (38 of 48) of 3+ cases were Her-2/neu gene amplified, but only 17{\%} (seven of 41) of 2+ cases had increased gene copy. Conclusion: Discordant HercepTest/FISH results, and to a lesser extent discordance with CB11 IMH, are most commonly false-positive results with a score of 2+. The 2+ score as defined in the guidelines for the FDA-approved HercepTest should not be used as a criterion for trastuzumab therapy unless confirmed by FISH. Determination of Her-2 gene copy number by FISH may be a more accurate and reliable method for selecting patients eligible for trastuzumab therapy.",
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T2 - Apparent immunohistochemical false-positives do not get the message

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AU - Pettay, J. D.

AU - Roche, P. C.

AU - Stoler, M. H.

AU - Jenkins, Robert Brian

AU - Grogan, T. M.

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N2 - Background: Several studies have reported what seem to be false-positive results using the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved HercepTest (Dako Corp, Carpinteria, CA) to profile Her-2/neu amplification and overproduction in breast carcinoma. False-positive status has been based on comparisons with gene copy enumeration by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and with comparisons to immunohisto-chemistry (IMH) results using a monoclonal antibody. However, simple overexpression by tumor cells that have normal gene copy has not been evaluated by profiling mRNA expression, ie, such cases could simply represent true-positive, transcriptionally upregulated overexpression. Materials and Methods: Four hundred infiltrating ductal carcinomas of breast were evaluated by IMH using monoclonal (CB 11; Ventana Medical Systems, Inc, Tucson, AZ) and polyclonal (HercepTest; Dako) antibodies after antigen retrieval (AR). A polyclonal antibody sans AR (PCA/SAR) was also used. All IMH stains were evaluated and scored according to the guidelines for the FDA-approved HercepTest. A total of 145 of 400 carcinomas were subsequently evaluated by direct and digoxigenin-labeled (Dig) FISH, and 144 of 400 were evaluated by detection of mRNA overexpression via autoradiographic RNA:RNA in situ hybridization. Results: Overall HercepTest/CB11 IMH discordance was 12%. Expression of mRNA was highly concordant with FISH and DigFISH amplification and with CB11 and PCA/SAR immunohistology. IMH false-positive cases (no Her-2/neu gene amplification) occurred with both HercepTest (23%) and CB11 (17%), and the majority of false-positive results (34 of 44) were scored as 2+. All 2+ false-positive cases were mRNA-negative. Combined results of HercepTest and CB11 showed that 79% (38 of 48) of 3+ cases were Her-2/neu gene amplified, but only 17% (seven of 41) of 2+ cases had increased gene copy. Conclusion: Discordant HercepTest/FISH results, and to a lesser extent discordance with CB11 IMH, are most commonly false-positive results with a score of 2+. The 2+ score as defined in the guidelines for the FDA-approved HercepTest should not be used as a criterion for trastuzumab therapy unless confirmed by FISH. Determination of Her-2 gene copy number by FISH may be a more accurate and reliable method for selecting patients eligible for trastuzumab therapy.

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