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HER-2/neu expression in germ cell tumours
  1. S Soule1,
  2. L Baldridge2,
  3. K Kirkpatrick2,
  4. L Cheng2,
  5. J L Gilbert3,
  6. L R Smith3,
  7. V C Thurston3,
  8. G H Vance3,
  9. L Einhorn1,
  10. K Miller1
  1. 1Division of Hematology and Oncology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA
  2. 2Division of Pathology, Indiana University School of Medicine
  3. 3Division of Medical Genetics, Indiana University School of Medicine
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr S Soule, Indiana Cancer Pavilion, 535 Barnhill Drive, RT-473, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA;


Aims: To determine the rate of HER-2/neu positivity of germ cell tumours by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and by fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH).

Patients/Methods: Ninety six archival, paraffin wax embedded pathology specimens were chosen from four groups of germ cell tumours. IHC for HER-2/neu was performed with the HercepTest kit; FISH analysis was performed with the INFORM assay and confirmed with a centromere 17 probe.

Results: Twenty two of 96 specimens overexpressed the HER-2/neu protein when measured by IHC. Only three specimens showed HER-2/neu gene amplification by FISH. There was no correlation between the results obtained by IHC and FISH.

Conclusions: The lack of concordance between IHC and FISH makes it unlikely that overexpression of the HER-2/neu protein in germ cell tumours is of prognostic or therapeutic relevance. Because of the low rate of HER-2/neu gene amplification in germ cell tumours, a clinical trial of trastuzumab treatment in patients with germ cell tumours is not warranted.

  • HER-2/neu
  • germ cell tumours
  • FISH, fluorescence in situ hybridisation
  • IHC, immunohistochemistry
  • PCRPLND, post chemotherapy retroperitoneal lymph node resections with germ cell carcinoma in the resected specimen

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