HER-2/neu Status: A Neglected Marker of Prognostication and Management of Breast Cancer Patients in India


Background: Categorizing breast tumors based on the ER, PR and HER/Neu 2 receptor status is necessary in order to predict outcome and assist in management of breast cancer. Herfe we assessed this question in South Indian patients. Materials and
Methods: A total of 619 formalin fixed paraffin embedded breast tumor tissues were collected from pathology archives after receipt of ethical clearance. With the help of primary and secondary conjugated antibodies, expression status of ER, PR and HER2/neu was determined. All the experimental data were assessed for correlations with histopathological features of tumors and clinical presentation of the subjects.
Results: In the present study, the ages ranged from 20-87 years with a mean of 50.0±12.q years, and majority of the tumors (84%) were of infiltrating duct cell carcinoma type. Assessment of ER, PR and Her-2/neu expression showed that 46% were triple negative. Interestingly, an inverse relation between ER, PR and HER-2/neu was apparent in 41.2% (p<0.0001) of the tumors, of which 24.5% (p<0.0001) were ER and PR co-negative but HER-2 positive.
Conclusions: ER and PR positive tumors are less common (i.e<30%) compared to HER-2/neu positive tumors (i.e>50%) in Indian breast cancer patients, underlining the need for effective diagnostic screening and specific therapeutic managements in order to improve the survival rate of patients in low resource countries such as India.