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Utility of Chromogenic In Situ Hybridization (CISH) for Detection of EGFR Amplification in Glioblastoma: Comparison With Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (FISH)

Fischer, Ingeborg MD*; de la Cruz, Clarissa MD; Rivera, Andreana L. MD; Aldape, Kenneth MD

Diagnostic Molecular Pathology: December 2008 - Volume 17 - Issue 4 - pp 227-230
doi: 10.1097/PDM.0b013e3181642230
Original Articles

In this study, we test the reliability of chromogenic in situ hybridization (CISH) for the detection of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene amplification in glioblastoma. Earlier reports have described EGFR CISH in glioblastoma multiforme, but a comparison of CISH with a “gold standard” testing method, such as fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), has not been described. Therapies targeting the EGFR-signaling pathway might increase the importance of assessment of EGFR-amplification status. CISH is a potential alternative to FISH as a testing method. To test its reliability, EGFR-amplification status by CISH was assessed in 89 cases of glioblastoma and compared with FISH results, and correlated with the protein expression using immunohistochemistry (IHC) for EGFR. FISH was scored as being EGFR-amplified in 47/89 tumors, CISH as being amplified in 43/89 tumors. The CISH and FISH results were in agreement in 83/89 cases (93%). Four glioblastomas were scored as being amplified by FISH, but not by CISH; whereas amplification was detected in 2 tumors by CISH that were not amplified using FISH. Forty-eight of the 89 cases were positive for EGFR expression by IHC. EGFR amplification was highly correlated with protein expression by IHC, as 40/48 (83%) EGFR IHC-positive cases were found to be EGFR-amplified. The high concordance of CISH and FISH for the assessment of EGFR gene-amplification status indicates that CISH is a viable alternative to FISH for the detection of EGFR gene amplification in glioblastoma. Detectable EGFR expression by IHC can occur in the absence of gene amplification, but is uncommon.

*Department of Pathology, Division of Neuropathology, New York University Medical Center, New York, NY

Department of Pathology, The University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Reprints: Dr Ingeborg Fischer, MD, Department of Pathology, Division of Neuropathology, 462 First Avenue, Room 4N30, New York, NY 10016 (e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.