Overexpression of the HER-2/neu oncogene in pancreatic adenocarcinoma

Howard Safran, Margaret Steinhoff, Shamlal Mangray, Ritesh Rathore, Thomas Charles King, Li Chai, Katya Berzein, Todd Moore, David Iannitti, Philip Reiss, Terese Pasquariello, Paul Akerman, Daniel Quirk, Robert Mass, Lisa Goldstein, Umadevi Tantravahi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Novel systemic treatments are needed in pancreatic cancer. The authors sought to establish the frequency of overexpression of the HER-2/neu oncogene in patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma to determine the potential role of trastuzumab (Herceptin) as a therapeutic agent in this disease. Tumor specimens from patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma were analyzed by staining for p185HER2 protein using the DAKO immunohistochemical assay. Patients with and without HER-2/neu overexpression by immunohistochemistry were compared with respect to clinical and pathologic characteristics. HER-2/neu gene amplification was also evaluated by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Thirty-two of 154 patients (21%) had pancreatic adenocarcinoma that demonstrated HER-2/neu overexpression by immunohistochemistry. At initial diagnosis, 16% of resectable cancers, 17% of locally advanced cancers, and 26% of metastatic cancers were determined to have HER-2/neu overexpression. Three of 11 (27%) patients with HER-2/neu overexpression by immunohistochemistry had gene amplification by FISH. HER-2/neu overexpression occurs in a subset of pancreatic cancer. Evaluation of the efficacy of trastuzumab for patients with pancreatic cancer who overexpress HER-2/neu appears indicated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)496-499
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Oncology: Cancer Clinical Trials
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • HER-2/neu
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Trastuzumab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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