Effect of HER-2/neu overexpression on chemoresistance and prognosis in ovarian carcinoma

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To investigate the effect of HER-2/neu protein overexpression on chemoresistance and prognosis in patients with epithelial ovarian carcinoma.


A total of 141 ovarian carcinoma tissues surgically resected between 1987 and 2003 were assessed by immunohistochemistry (IHC). The characteristic of the patients and immunohistochemical results were compared by χ2-test. Survival analysis was performed by the Kaplan–Meier method and the log-rank test.


HER-2/neu overexpression was detected in 18 cases (12.8%). There were no significant differences in histopathological subtypes (P = 0.3550), FIGO stages (P = 0.8858), or residual tumor size at first surgery (P = 0.6607) between the cases with HER-2/neu overexpression and the cases without HER-2/neu overexpression. Among the 58 cases which responded to chemotherapy, only five cases (8.6%) showed HER-2/neu overexpression. However, among the 38 cases which did not respond to chemotherapy, eight cases (21.1%) showed HER-2/neu overexpression. Overexpression of HER-2/neu had a tendency to relate with chemoresistance of epithelial ovarian carcinoma, but there were no statistically significant differences (P = 0.0817). No association was observed between HER-2/neu overexpression and cumulative survival rate (P = 0.4970).


The results of the current study show that although HER-2/neu overexpression has a tendency to be associated with chemoresistance, it can not be a prognostic factor for the patients with epithelial ovarian carcinoma.

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