Phosphorylated HER3 and FITC-labeled trastuzumab immunohistochemistry in patients with HER2-positive breast cancer treated with adjuvant trastuzumab

  • Naoki KanomataEmail author
  • Junichi Kurebayashi
  • Takuya Moriya
Original Paper


The development of trastuzumab has significantly improved the prognosis of HER2-positive breast cancer. However, disease recurs in some patients with HER2-positive breast cancer. A new strategy for treating HER2-positive breast cancer is necessary. Although several studies have reported that HER3 is a prognostic factor for HER2-positive breast cancers, phosphorylated HER3 (pHER3) has not been well studied. There has been no survival analysis including immunohistochemistry with trastuzumab as the primary antibody. We analyzed immunohistochemistry using anti-pHER3 antibody and FITC-labeled trastuzumab (FITC-tra). Of 78 patients enrolled in the study, we could evaluate the immunohistochemistry for pHER3 in 71 cases and that for FITC-tra in 72 cases. Sixteen cases were positive for pHER3 (16/71, 22.5%), and 19 positive for FITC-tra (19/72, 26.4%). Kaplan–Meier analysis showed a significant association of pHER3 positivity (p = 0.011) but not HER3 positivity or FITC-tra positivity with disease-free survival. Therefore, immunohistochemical evaluation of pHER3 in HER2-positive breast cancer may provide a useful biomarker. An expanded study of pHER3 involving standardization of the pHER3 test to be encouraged.


Phosphorylated HER3 HER3 HER2 Trastuzumab Breast cancer 



This work was supported in part by JSPS KAKENHI grant (Grant no. 17K08750). The authors thank Hiroko Murakami for her excellent secretarial support and Megumi Ogo for her technical support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society for Clinical Molecular Morphology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyKawasaki Medical SchoolKurashikiJapan
  2. 2.Department of Breast and Thyroid SurgeryKawasaki Medical SchoolKurashikiJapan

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