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Relationship between flow cytometric and immunohistochemically detected C-ERBB-2 expression, grade and DNA ploidy in breast cancer

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ian Brotherick, Dr Brian Shenton, Dr William Cowan, Dr Brian Angus, Professor Thomas Lennard


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Quantification of c-erbB-2 and its relationship with other prognostic markers using flow cytometry has been examined. In this study a level for c-erbB-2 expression above which tumours are classified as positive by flow cytometry has been determined by employment of positive cut-off threshold levels. c-erbB-2 expression by both flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry was studied using the monoclonal antibody NCL-CBII. The relationship of c-erbB-2 quantification by flow cytometry was then compared with ploidy, axillary node status, tumour size and grade. Increased c-erbB-2 expression was seen using flow cytometry. Correlation between immunohistochemistry and flow-cytometry methods just failed to reach significance (P = 0.06). Immunohistochemistry revealed a significant relationship between c-erbB-2 expression and aneuploidy (P = 0.04). Cytokeratin-positive cells from 110 samples obtained from patients with breast cancer were assayed for DNA content and c-erbB-2 expression by flow cytometry. No correlation was seen between these parameters upon application of Mann Whitney analysis. However, examination of fluorescence thresholds showed a positive correlation between grade and c-erbB-2 expression at a level of more than 3200 molecules (P less than or equal to 0.03). At the level of 3600 molecules significance was increased (P = 0.004). These levels equated with between 15% and 19% of the samples being classified as c-erbB-2-positive. Application of these cut-off points showed no correlation between c-erbB-2 expression and ploidy, tumour size or axillary node status. Comparison of ploidy and grade showed a significant association (P = 0.0015), increased grade correlating with aneuploidy.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Brotherick I, Shenton BK, Cowan WK, Angus B, Horne CHW, Higgs MJ, Lennard TWJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy: other biological response modifications

Year: 1995

Volume: 41

Issue: 3

Pages: 137-145

Print publication date: 01/09/1995

ISSN (print): 0340-7004

ISSN (electronic): 1432-0851