Lege Artis Medicinae

[The clinical importance of HER2 expression in breast cancer]

KAHÁN Zsuzsanna

FEBRUARY 20, 2001

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2001;11(02)

[HER2 (neu/c-erbB-2) is a member of the EGF receptor family. It is activated without binding a specific ligand that leads to malignant transformation and tumor progression. Overexpression of HER2 is detected in approximately one quarter of human breast cancers. Immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization (FISH) are the most widely used techniques in studying HER2 expression. HER2 positivity indicates worse outcome in node positive breast cancer and increasing number of studies show unfavourable prognosis in node negative cases as well. Recent data indicate that the knowledge of HER2 status may promote therapeutic decision. The generally applied cyclophosphamide- methotrexate-5-fluorouracil (CMF) polychemotherapy seems to provide no benefit in HER2 positive cases in contrast with HER2 negative breast cancer patients. Interestingly, doseintensive doxorubicin based chemotherapy gives better results in HER2 positive than in HER2 negative tumors. Determination of HER2 expression has great importance before therapeutic application of the humanized antibody trastuzumab (Herceptin). HER2 overexpression usually correlates well with estrogen and progesterone receptor negativity and hormone-resistance, therefore hormonal therapy is not justified for these patients. Some experimental and clinical data indicate that in case of simultaneous HER2 and ER positivity tamoxifen worsens treatment results which may be prevented by the coadministration of tamoxifen and trastuzumab. Emerging experimental and clinical data about HER2 has led to a new stage of individual treatment of breast cancer patients. The knowledge of HER2 status promotes antitumor intervention based on molecular characteristics of breast cancers. Therefore, reliable HER2 tests are needed in the everyday practice.]



Further articles in this publication

Lege Artis Medicinae

[The role of steroid hormones in the protection against oxidative stress]


[The incidence of vascular diseases increases in postmenopausal women. This negative trend seems to be controllable favourably by hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Based on the free radical mediated mechanism of atherogenesis the authors try to find the reasons for these observations on the basis of their and others’ data. They consider the increase of activity and amount of neutrophil enzyme myeloperoxydase by certain steroid particulars one of the most important elements of the vasoprotective effect of HRT. This increase diminishes the production of superoxide anion by the inhibition of the NADPH-oxidase enzyme. The observation proved firstly by the authors, that the plasma levels of myeloperoxydase - and so the ability for the inhibition of superoxide anion production by neutrophils - decreases in elderly people, might explain the higher incidence of some free radical mediated illnesses in the elderly. The authors also give a short review of antioxidant effects of steroids in general.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[The importance of vitrectomy in the management of diabetic retinopathy in proliferative stage]


[Vitrectomy is a closed microsurgical technique, by which intraocular tissue, blood and foreign bodies can be removed through a small incision in the pars plana with an automated suction-cutting device (vitrectom), while maintaining normal or slightly elevated intraocular pressure. This technique requires many accessory instruments (microscope, endoillumination, intraocular instruments, endolaser). The main application of vitrectomy is the treatment of severe complications in diabetes mellitus: diabetic retinopathy in the proliferative stage. Vitrectomy is indicated in diabetic retinopathy for the removal of intraocular bleeding and for the treatment of complications of diabetic proliferative vitreoretinopathy (recurring bleeding, tractional and rhegmatogenous retinal detachment). In the case of intraocular bleeding, early vitrectomy is better than delayed, providing good visus (V: 0,5) in 25% of all patients (based on literature data). In retinal detachment cases of tractional origin, surgery provides satisfactory visus for self-care in 2/3rd of all patients.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Alphabetic index 1991-2000]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[„There should be someone to hold the hand of the dying!” Deep interviews on the difficulties of caring for the dying]


Lege Artis Medicinae

[Gastrointestinal stromal tumor]


[Gastrointestinal stromal tumors were subject of much controversy in the last decades. This type of tumors was delineated from the leiomyoma - leiomyosarcoma group. GISTs show variable histological picture, moreover, they are capable of dual (neurogen and myogen) differentiation as it is proved by immunohistochemical and ultrastructural studies. These tumors have relatively good prognosis, only 10-30% of them is malignant, although it is difficult to predict their behaviour in a given case. The most reliable signs of malignancy - cytological pleoimorphism, high mitotic activity, proliferation index above 10 %, and aneuploid DNA content - are generally accepted. The treatment of choice is excision, but not enucleation. Radical surgery is not necessary, since lymph node metastasis is exceptionally rare. Further investigations revealed electronmicroscopical and immunohistochemical (CD 34, CD 117) similarities of tumor cells and interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) located in the wall of the bowel. The results of these investigations led to the theory that cells of GIST and ICCs are of the same stem cell origin. Molecular genetic studies are also of great help in the differential diagnosis and in predicting the prognosis of GISTs. Mutations in the c-kit gene can not be detected in leiomyomas, so they are thougt to be specific for GISTs. Mutation of exon 11. of chromosome 4. is observed only in malignant GISTs.]

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Lege Artis Medicinae

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Clinical Neuroscience

[Temozolomide chemotherapy of patients with recurrent anaplastic astrocytomas and glioblastomas]


[Introduction - Anaplastic astrocytomas and glioblastomas are the most frequent and most malignant hemispherial tumours. Unfortunately, astrocytic tumours are of infiltrative character and radical removal is not possible. Recurrent malignant gliomas are rarely suitable for reoperation. In most of the cases of recurrent gliomas chemotherapy is the last choice. Patients and method - Seventy-five consecutive patients with recurrent malignant astrocytomas and glioblastomas had been treated at our institute with per os temozolomide for five days every month. The patients received two to 16 courses of chemotherapy. The toxicity, quality of life, response to chemotherapy and survival data were analysed. Results - Out of 75 patients four were excluded following the first treatment due to myelotoxicity, and allergic reactions. Among the patients treated with temozolomide in seven cases complete response, 17 partial response, 14 progressive disease were observed. In 33 cases the disease stabilized and out of them in 27% a significant neurological improvement was detected. The time to progression was 6.8 months and the median survival time 8.75 months for patients with glioblastoma and with malignant astrocytoma or malignant mixed oligoastrocytoma 9.45 and 11.15 months, respectively. The overall survival for patients with originally lower grade glioma was 70.32 and for patients with glioblastoma multiforme 17.43 months. Conclusions - Temozolomide chemotherapy in patients with recurrent malignant astrocytoma and glioblastoma proved to be efficacious and similar good results were achieved as with a nitrosourea based combined chemotherapy. Even in those patients who received previous chemotherapy temozolomide is well tolerated and a relatively long time to progression was achieved in cases of recurrent malignant gliomas. In a few number of patients where BCNU had been previously failed with temozolomide stable disease was achieved. Temozolomide seems to be a promising drug in the chemotherapy of malignant gliomas and can be applied as a second line chemotherapy, as well.]

Hungarian Radiology

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[INTRODUCTION - Breast cancer screening has been started in January 1. 2002. in Hungary in the course of the National Health Program. Breast cancer is the main cause of death among women’s malignant tomors, and the aim of the project is to reduce this mortality. The chance of survival is highly increased by the early detection of the disease. Kenezy Breast Center was connected to this project. PATIENTS AND METHODES - Females between 45-65 years without symptoms participated in the project. Paralel to this women with symptoms, sometimes with palplable masses were clinically examined. Screening mammography films were read by two radiologists and the complementary examinations of the breast and the axillary lymph nodes - ultrasonography, guided biopsy (FNAB, core biopsy) - were performed always by the same doctor. Results of the two projects were compared. RESULTS - The incidence of malignant breast cancer was 4‰ in the screening and 1,5% in the clinical group. 46.5% of the malignant breast cancers revealed by the clinical examinations was diagnosed in the group of women between the age of 45 to 65 years. This is the age when most women are involved in the screening program. 7.3% of the tumors was diagnosed in the 40- 44 year age-group and 11.3% among women aging 66-77 years. The rate of malignant tumors smaller than 1.5 cm was 49.1% according to screening records and 36% in the clinical trial. In both groups, tumor size of 1.5 cm proved to be a critical limit regarding to the development of metastases, mainly in the axillary region. Above this size, metastases were more frequent. CONCLUSIONS - Both breast screening program and clinical exams are of great significance. Based on the data obtained during two years, authors found that women below the age of 40 and above the age of 65 should also be involved in the screening program. Detection of breast tumor is possible at an early stage by screening. In the case of small tumors (smaller than 1.5 cm) the development of axillary metastases is less likely than in the case of larger ones. The lack of metastases in the axillary lymph nodes offers better prognosis according to the published scientific data, which reinforces the importance and necessity of the screening programs.]