Overexpression of c-erbB-2 protein correlates with chromosomal gain at the c-erbB-2 locus and patient survival in advanced colorectal carcinomas


  • T. Knoesel
  • Y. Yu
  • U. Stein
  • H. Schwabe
  • K. Schluens
  • P.M. Schlag
  • M. Dietel
  • I. Petersen


  • Clinical and Experimental Metastasis


  • Clin Exp Metastasis 19: 401-407


  • Overexpression of the c-erbB-2 protein (also called HER-2/neu) is observed in a variety of malignancies including colorectal cancer (CRC). In this study we aimed to evaluate the rate of c-erbB-2 overexpression in our tumor collection and to clarify its correlation with the chromosomal status at the c-erbB-2 locus in CRC. Additionally we correlated the c-erbB-2 overexpression and the chromosomal gain of 17q with patient survival. Seventy-four specimens were analyzed immunohistochemically using a polyclonal c-erbB-2 antibody (DAKO) and the staining was scored according to the Clinical Trial Assay recommendations (0–3+). Of these, 45 cases were analyzed by comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) and immunohistochemistry (IHC). Overexpression was observed in 51% of the cases (score ≥2). Chromosomal gains at the c-erbB-2 locus were clearly correlated with overexpression of the gene (P=0.0009). Furthermore Kaplan–Meier analysis showed that overexpression of c-erbB-2 was significantly associated with poor survival and thus could serve as a prognostic marker. We conclude that c-erbB-2 is related with tumor progression in CRC which can be observed on protein level and reflects chromosomal gain at the locus at 17q.