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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Optimizing HER2 assessment in breast cancer: application of automated image analysis

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In breast cancer, analysis of HER2 expression is pivotal for treatment decision. This study aimed at comparing digital, automated image analysis with manual reading using the HER2-CONNECT algorithm (Visiopharm) in order to minimize the number of equivocal 2+ scores and the need for reflex fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis. Consecutive samples from 462 patients were included. Tissue micro arrays (TMAs) were routinely manufactured including two 2 mm cores from each patient, and each core was assessed in order to ensure the presence of invasive carcinoma. Immunohistochemical staining (IHC) was performed with Roche/Ventana's HER2 ready-to-use kit. TMAs were scanned in a Zeiss Axio Z1 scanner, and one batch analysis of the HER2-CONNECT algorithm including all core samples was run using Visiopharm's cloud-based software. The automated reading was compared to conventional manual assessment of HER2 protein expression, together with FISH analysis of HER2 gene amplification for borderline (2+) protein expression samples. Compared to FISH analysis, manual assessment of the HER2 protein expression demonstrated a sensitivity of 85.8% and a specificity of 86.0% with 14.0% equivocal samples. With HER2-CONNECT, sensitivity increased to 100 % and specificity to 95.5% with less than 4.5% equivocal. Total agreement when comparing HER2-CONNECT with manual IHC assessment supplemented by FISH for borderline (2+) cases was 93.6%. Application of automated image analysis for HER2 protein expression instead of manual assessment decreases the need for supplementary FISH testing by 68%. In the routine diagnostic setting, this would have significant impact on cost reduction and turn-around time.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Volume152
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)367-75
Number of pages9
ISSN0167-6806
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015

ID: 45781737