Her2 Testing in Breast Cancer

The Her2 gene codes for a transmembrane growth factor receptor. Gene amplification and consequent overexpression of Her2 occurs in around 20% of women with breast cancer and is associated with an adverse prognosis. Trastuzumab (Herceptin® :Roche) is a chimeric antibody (95% human and 5% murine) developed against the Her2 protein. In HER2-positive metastatic disease trastuzumab alone has been shown to achieve a clinical response in around 35% of patients as first line treatment and significantly prolongs survival in combination with Paclitaxel and Docetaxel.
Sample type and Volume required: 
Her2 over-expression can be demonstrated by immunocytochemistry on paraffin processed tissue in most cases. However equivocal results can occur in a proportion of cases when demonstration of the gene amplification itself by FISH will clarify the result. Tissue which has been decalcified is not suitable for FISH.
Turnaround time: 
1 - 2 Weeks depending on whether FISH is required.
Storage and transport: 
First class post within 4 days (temperature not to exceed 30°C during transport) If possible, please complete the request form attached and send as a hard copy (do not send electronically) with the sample. This will ensure all relevant information is available and will aid us in processing your test.
Cellular Pathology/ Histopathology at King's College Hospital
020 3299 3045 - General Queries
King's College Hospital
Bessemer Wing - 2nd Floor
Denmark Hill
London SE5 9RS
For clinical advice or interpretation of results, please contact the laboratory in the first instance.

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Last updated: 07/08/2015