Serum HER2 levels determined by two methods in patients with metastatic breast cancer

Naoki Hayashi, Seigo Nakamura, Yasuharu Tokuda, Hiroshi Yagata, Atsushi Yoshida, Hidekazu Ota, Gabriel N. Hortobagyi, Massimo Cristofanilli, Naoto T. Ueno*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background The role and the optimal measurement method of serum HER2 levels are not defined in patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). We prospectively assessed the prognostic value of serum HER2 levels in MBC using two methods, enzyme immunoassay (EIA) and chemiluminescence immunoassay (CLIA). Methods We collected blood samples from patients with MBC at baseline and at subsequent 3- to 4-week intervals up to 12 weeks. Samples were divided, and serum HER2 levels were determined using EIA and CLIA. We also determined whether serum HER2 levels had decreased by ≥20% at first follow-up. These results were evaluated against overall survival, progression-free survival, and tumor response. Results We obtained 196 samples from 52 patients. In 59 samples from patients who received trastuzumab, serum HER2 positivity rates were significantly lower for EIA (n = 22) than for CLIA (n = 33, P = 0.042); in 137 samples from patients who did not receive trastuzumab, there was no significant difference in rates of serum HER2 positivity for CLIA (n = 83) and EIA (n = 80). Serum HER2 level at baseline, the level at first follow-up, and a decrease of ≥20% between baseline and first follow-up were not associated with overall survival, progression-free survival, and tumor response. Conclusions Chemiluminescence immunoassay was a more sensitive method than EIA for measuring serum HER2 levels in patients who received trastuzumab. However, because serum HER2 levels did not correlate with patient outcome, we do not currently recommend measuring serum HER2 levels by either method for prognostic evaluation in patients with MBC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-62
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • Breast neoplasm
  • HER2
  • Metastasis
  • Serum HER2
  • Trastuzumab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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