alexa Detection of occult HER2 mRNA-positive tumor cells in the peripheral blood of patients with operable breast cancer: evaluation of their prognostic relevance.


Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pathology

Author(s): Apostolaki S, Perraki M, Kallergi G, Kafousi M, Papadopoulos S,

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Abstract To evaluate whether HER2 mRNA could be used as a marker of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in women with operable breast cancer. A nested RT-PCR assay was developed and used for the detection of HER2 mRNA-positive CTCs. Blood from 216 women with early breast cancer obtained before adjuvant treatment was tested for HER2 mRNA-positive cells to assess their prognostic value. Nested RT-PCR for HER2 mRNA showed high sensitivity whereas no HER2 mRNA-positive cells could be identified in the blood of healthy donors. HER2 mRNA-positive CTCs were detected in 53 (24.5\%) of 216 patients and HER2 mRNA detection was associated with reduced disease-free survival (DFS; P < 0.0001) and overall survival (OS; P = 0.004). In multivariate analysis, detection of HER2 mRNA-positive CTCs emerged as independent prognostic factor for DFS (P = 0.0001) and OS (P = 0.003). HER2 mRNA could be a valuable prognostic marker for the detection of CTCs in early breast cancer patients. This article was published in Breast Cancer Res Treat and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pathology

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