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Predicting discordant HER2 results in ipsilateral synchronous invasive breast carcinomas: experience from a single institution

Chou, Shaun1; Khan, Tayyaba1; Mahajan, Hema1; Pathmanathan, Nirmala1,2

Pathology - Journal of the RCPA: December 2015 - Volume 47 - Issue 7 - p 637–640
doi: 10.1097/PAT.0000000000000326

Summary: With the emergence of multiple lines of highly effective Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER2) directed therapy, accurate identification of HER2 positive tumour has become a critical aspect in the histopathological analysis of breast cancers. Multifocal invasive breast carcinomas are relatively common, and given the aggressive inherent biology of HER2 positive disease, identification of even small tumours with HER2 positive status may be of importance for treatment planning. There are currently no clear guidelines as to whether all of these foci should be tested for HER2 status. We reviewed the results of 172 patients in whom HER2 in situ hybridisation (ISH) testing was performed on at least two ipsilateral synchronous invasive carcinomas. Discordant results in different invasive foci were relatively uncommon and occurred in only eight (5%) of the 172 patients. This showed a statistically significant correlation with similarly discordant oestrogen receptor (ER) results. In addition HER2 discordance was more likely amongst different tumour foci if these arose in distinct and separate areas of DCIS. An algorithm based on a combination of College of American Pathologists (CAP) recommendation for HER2 testing, differing ER status and background DCIS profile may be useful in detecting these discordant cases.

1Department of Tissue Pathology and Diagnostic Oncology, ICPMR, Westmead Hospital

2Westmead Breast Cancer Institute, Westmead, NSW, Australia

Address for correspondence: Dr Shaun Chou, Department of Tissue Pathology and Diagnostic Oncology, ICPMR, Westmead Hospital, Locked Bag 9001, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia. E-mail:

Received 7 April, 2015

Revised 15 June, 2015

Accepted 7 July, 2015

© 2015 Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia
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