Serum levels of HER-2 neu (C-erbB-2) correlate with overexpression of p185neu in human ovarian cancer.
BACKGROUND: The HER-2 neu (c-erbB-2) oncogene product p185neu is expressed by most ovarian cancers and overexpressed in approximately 30%. METHODS: Sera from patients with ovarian cancer were evaluated for neu antigen using an enzyme-linked immunoassay and for CA 125 antigen by radioimmunoassay. Tissue levels of neu from the same patients were determined by immunohistochemical staining with anti-neu monoclonal antibody. RESULTS: Elevated levels (> 2050 human neu unit [HNU]/ml) of circulating neu determinants have been detected in sera from 15% of 48 patients. Of 45 patients for whom tumor tissue had been cryopreserved, overexpression of neu was found in 17 by immunohistochemical analysis; of these 17, serum neu levels were elevated in 5 (29%). Among the 28 patients with normal to moderate tissue expression of neu, only 2 (7%) had elevated serum neu levels. Thus, elevated serum neu levels predicted tissue overexpression with a specificity of 93%. Serum neu levels were not related to serum levels of CA 125. CONCLUSION: Serum and tissue levels of neu correlate in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer.
McKenzie, SJ; DeSombre, KA; Bast, BS; Hollis, DR; Whitaker, RS; Berchuck, A; Boyer, CM; Bast, RC
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