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  • Meeting abstract
  • Open Access

C-erbB-2 overexpression in primary breast cancer: relationship to clinical and histopathological parameters of patients with breast cancer

  • 1,
  • 1, 3,
  • 2 and
  • 1
Breast Cancer Research20013 (Suppl 1) :A50

  • Received: 10 May 2001
  • Published:


  • Breast Cancer
  • Breast Tumor
  • Breast Carcinoma
  • Primary Breast Cancer
  • Invasive Ductal Carcinoma


Amplification of c-erbB-2 oncoprotein has been described in 10-35% of primary breast cancers. Breast tumors with immunohistochemical overexpression of c-erbB-2 protein seem to be more aggressive. We evaluated the impact of c-erbB-2 overexpression on clinical and histopathological parameters of patients with breast cancer.


Primary tumors from 417 patients, who were treated at our Department for breast cancer, were studied. Immunostaining of c-erbB-2 oncoprotein was carried out utilizing the monoclonal antibody CB11.


C-erbB-2 overexpression was seen in 72 out of 417 (17%) of primary breast tumors. Patients with positive immunohistochemistry (IHC) for c-erbB-2 were significantly younger (P = 0.015), on average. The number of involved lymph nodes was higher in patients with positive IHC (P = 0.014). Nearly all IHC positive tumors (98.6%) were invasive ductal carcinomas, whereas all but one lobular carcinoma were negative. Tumors with negative IHC more often demonstrated positive estrogen (P = 0.001) and proges-terone (P = 0.001) expression than did patients with positive IHC. There was a significant relation of c-erbB-2 IHC and nuclear grading, Ki67 and p53. No association was found with menopausal status, tumor size, T-staging and presence of metastases.


(1) Overexpression of c-erbB-2 oncoprotein in primary breast cancer tumors may be an indicator of the extent of lymph node metastases in patients. (2) Lobular carcinomas represent a defined subtype of breast carcinomas.

Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ulm, Germany
University of Freiburg, Germany
International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France


© BioMed Central Ltd 2001