The response of human epidermal growth factor receptor2 (HER2)- positive breast cancer (BC) patients to anti-HER2 targeted therapy is significant. However, the response is not uniform and a proportion of HER2-positive patients do not respond. This study aims to identify predictors of response in the neoadjuvant treatment and to assess the discordance rate of HER2 status between pre- and post-treatment specimens in HER2-positive BC patients. The study group comprised 500 BC patients treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) and/or neoadjuvant anti-HER2 therapy and surgery who had tumours that were 3+ or 2+ with HER2 immunohistochemistry (IHC). HER2 IHC 2+ tumours were classified into five groups by fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) according to the 2018 ASCO/CAP guidelines of which Groups 1, 2 and 3 were considered HER2 amplified. Pathological complete response (pCR) was more frequent in HER2 IHC 3+ tumours than in HER2 IHC 2+/HER2 amplified tumours, when either in receipt of NACT alone (38% versus 13%; p = 0.22) or neoadjuvant anti-HER2 therapy (52% versus 20%; p < 0.001). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that HER2 IHC 3+ and histological grade 3 were independent predictors of pCR following neoadjuvant anti-HER2 therapy. In the HER2 IHC 2+/HER2 amplified tumours or ASCO/CAP FISH Group 1 alone, ER-negativity was an independent predictor of pCR following NACT and/or neoadjuvant anti-HER2 therapy. In the current study, 22% of HER2-positive tumours became HER2-negative by IHC and FISH following neoadjuvant treatment, the majority (74%) HER2 IHC 2+/HER2 amplified tumours. Repeat HER2 testing after neoadjuvant treatment should therefore be considered.
- Breast cancer
- Targeted therapies