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The Predictive Value of EGFR and HER-2/neu in Tumor Tissue and Serum for Response to Anthracycline-Based Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy of Breast Cancer

Walter Schippinger MD, Nadia Dandachi PhD, Peter Regitnig MD, Günter Hofmann MD, Marija Balic MD, Rainer Neumann PhD, Hellmut Samonigg MD, Thomas Bauernhofer MD
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1309/51KPD70348RP6XTE 630-637 First published online: 1 October 2007


We investigated the predictive value of HER-2/neu and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in tumor tissue and prechemotherapy serum for histopathologic response in 108 patients with breast cancer undergoing neoadjuvant anthracycline-based chemotherapy.

Response to chemotherapy, assessed by histopathologic classification of regression (grade 0 [no therapy effect] to 4 [no residual tumor]), correlated significantly with prechemotherapy serum HER-2/neu levels. Median prechemotherapy serum HER-2/neu levels were significantly higher in patients with regression grades 1 through 4 compared with those in patients with regression grade 0 (9.6 vs 8.55 ng/mL; P = .011; 95% confidence interval [CI], .009-.014). Median pretreatment serum HER-2/neu levels of patients with complete pathologic response (pCR) were significantly higher than in patients with moderate or no treatment response (10.95 vs 9.1 ng/mL; P = .041; 95% CI, .036–.046). Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis revealed a serum HER-2/neu value of more than 10.3 ng/mL to predict a pCR with 80% sensitivity and 69.4% specificity. There was no significant correlation of response with HER-2/neu and EGFR scores in tumor tissue or with serum EGFR levels.

Results demonstrate prechemotherapy serum HER-2/neu to be a significant predictor of response to neoadjuvant anthracycline-based chemotherapy for breast cancer.

Key Words:
  • Breast cancer
  • Epidermal growth factor receptor
  • EGFR
  • HER-2/neu
  • Predictive parameters