A new rabbit monoclonal antibody (4B5) for the immunohistochemical (IHC) determination of the HER2 status in breast cancer: Comparison with CB11, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and interlaboratory reproducibility

William C. Powell, David G. Hicks, Nichole Prescott, Shannon M. Tarr, Simas Laniauskas, Tristin Williams, Sarah Short, James Pettay, Raymond B. Nagle, David J. Dabbs, Katherine M. Scott, Richard W. Brown, Thomas Grogan, Patrick C. Roche, Raymond R. Tubbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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The 2 methodologies in current clinical use to assess HER2 status in breast cancer are: fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) (gene amplification) and immunohistochemistry (protein over-expression). A consistent finding has been that 3% to 15% of breast cancers over-express HER2 protein without evidence for gene amplification. Accurate determination of the HER2 status has implications for selecting patients most likely to respond to trastuzumab. We report here our preliminary experience with a new anti-HER2 rabbit monoclonal antibody, 4B5. The evaluation of HER2 status in 2 different cohorts of breast cancer cases (Single Institution (SI) and Multinational (MN)) with a total of 322 breast cancer cases was performed on an automated staining system (Ventana Medical Systems, Inc, Tucson, AZ) and scored by 3 pathologists (0-3+), for comparison with CB11 staining results (PATHWAY) and FISH (PathVysion). Interlaboratory reproducibility of automated staining results and interpretation was determined on a subset of the SI cohort at 3 separate laboratories. Rabbit monoclonal 4B5 demonstrated sharper membrane staining with less cytoplasmic and stromal background staining than CB11. In the SI cohort, the staining results for 4B5 were highly comparable with those obtained for CB11 with an overall concordance of 93.3%. In the multinational cohort, the overall concordance with CB11 was 84.7%. This lower level of concordance was associated with a much higher overall agreement of 4B5 with FISH (89.5%), compared with agreement of CB11 with FISH (81.2%). The difference in the performance of CB11 in the MN cohort versus the SI cohort may be due to differences in tissue fixation and processing in a centralized, high volume laboratory in an academic medical center versus multiple sites in the international community with potentially nonstandardized techniques. The staining results with 4B5 indicate that it has a more robust performance than CB11 because the correlation of 4B5 with FISH was nearly equivalent (88.2% MN; 89.3% SI) in both cohorts. Interlaboratory reproducibility was also excellent (κ 1.0). RMoAb 4B5 provides excellent sensitivity, specificity, and interlaboratory reproducibility for the detection of HER2 status in breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-102
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Immunohistochemistry and Molecular Morphology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007



  • 4B5
  • Breast cancer
  • HER2
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Rabbit monoclonal antibodies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Medical Laboratory Technology

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