Immunohistochemical study of HER-2/neu, epidermal growth factor receptor, and steroid receptor expression in normal and malignant endometrium

Robert M. Bigsby, Li Aixin, John Bomalaski, Frederick B. Stehman, Katherine Y. Look, Gregory P. Sutton

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HER-2/neu oncogene protein, epidermal growth factor receptor, progesterone receptor, and estrogen receptor were examined immunohistochemically in specimens of normal and neoplastic endometrium. Tissues obtained at the time of hysterectomy were snap-frozen at liquid nitrogen temperature and serially sectioned at 4 μm. Normal endometrial epithelial cells stained with anti-epidermal growth factor receptor and anti-HER-2/neu with intensities graded from 0 to 3+. Of the 49 endometrial malignancies studied, seven (14%) contained tissue exhibiting HER-2/neu staining in excess (4+) of any of the normal tissues or the other 42 cancer specimens. Expression of both HER-2/neu and steroid receptors was heterogeneous within these seven tumors. To examine this heterogeneity more closely, sections of these and other tumors were double-stained for HER-2/neu and progesterone receptor. It was found that the cells exhibiting 4+ HER-2/neu staining were progesterone receptor-negative. Conversely, cells that were progesterone receptor-positive within the same specimen exhibited HER-2/neu immunostaining equal to or less than 3+. All specimens containing 4+ HER-2/neu tissue were grade 1 or 2 adenocarcinomas, stage I. Thus, there is an inverse relationship between overexpression of HER-2/neu and progesterone receptor in endometrial cancer. On the other hand, overexpression of HER-2/neu in endometrial cancer does not seem to be related to loss of other differentiated characteristics. The prognostic value of these observations awaits continued study. (Obstet Gynecol 1992;79:95–100).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-100
Number of pages6
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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