Her2 Testing in Breast Cancer

The Her2 gene codes for a transmembrane growth factor receptor. Gene amplification and consequent overexpression of Her2 occurs in around 20% of women with breast cancer and is associated with an adverse prognosis. Trastuzumab (Herceptin® :Roche) is a chimeric antibody (95% human and 5% murine) developed against the Her2 protein. In HER2-positive metastatic disease trastuzumab alone has been shown to achieve a clinical response in around 35% of patients as first line treatment and significantly prolongs survival in combination with Paclitaxel and Docetaxel.
Sample type and Volume required: 
Her2 over-expression can be demonstrated by immunocytochemistry on paraffin processed tissue in most cases. However equivocal results can occur in a proportion of cases when demonstration of the gene amplification itself by FISH will clarify the result. Tissue which has been decalcified is not suitable for FISH.
Turnaround time: 
1 - 2 Weeks depending on whether FISH is required
Storage and transport: 
First class post within 4 days (temperature not to exceed 30°C during transport) If possible, please complete the request form attached and send as a hard copy (do not send electronically) with the sample. This will ensure all relevant information is available and will aid us in processing your test.
Cellular Pathology at Guy's And St Thomas' Hospital
Histology: 0207 188 7188 extension 54611 , Cytology: 0207 188 2915, Oral Pathology: 0207 188 4367
Histopathology & Cytopathology Laboratories
Cellular Pathology
St Thomas' Hospital
North Wing - 2nd Floor
Westminster Bridge Road
London SE1 7EH

Head and Neck/Oral Pathology Laboratory
4th Floor, Tower Wing
Guy's Hospital
Great Maze Pond
London SE1 9RT

For clinical advice or interpretation of results, please contact the laboratory in the first instance.

Print as a PDF

Last updated: 07/08/2015