American journal of clinical pathology

Impact of the 2013 ASCO/CAP HER2 Guideline Updates at an Academic Medical Center That Performs Primary HER2 FISH Testing: Increase in Equivocal Results and Utility of Reflex Immunohistochemistry.

PMID 26185309


The 2013 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)/College of American Pathologists (CAP) guideline updates lowered the threshold for HER2 positivity and altered the equivocal category. The goal of this study was to evaluate the impact of these changes on the distribution of HER2 fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) status. The utility of reflex HER2 immunohistochemistry (IHC) for FISH equivocal cases was also examined. We retrospectively reviewed all invasive breast cancers analyzed for HER2 via dual-probe FISH (PathVysion; Abbott Laboratories. Abbott Park, IL) 12 months before and after the HER2 guidelines updates were implemented. Reflex HER2 IHC results were recorded for HER2 FISH equivocal cases. There was a significant increase in the number of HER2 FISH equivocal results after the guideline updates (4.9% vs 1.4%, P = .0087) that was independent of specimen type (core vs surgical, P = .6). All 17 FISH equivocal cases after the updates had reflex HER2 IHC: two (12%) of 17 were positive, 12 (71%) of 17 remained equivocal, and three (18%) of 17 were negative. Implementation of the 2013 ASCO/CAP HER2 guideline updates resulted in an increase in HER2 FISH equivocal results, which can be attributed to HER2 copy number, regardless of the HER2/CEP17 ratio. Reflex IHC for FISH equivocal cases is of limited utility; however, IHC does assign HER2 positivity or negativity in a small percentage of cases.