HER2 overexpression in muscle-invasive urothelial carcinoma of the bladder: Prognostic implications

Stefan Krüger*, Georg Weitsch, Hartwig Büttner, Arne Matthiensen, Torsten Böhmer, Tim Marquardt, Friedhelm Sayk, Alfred C. Feller, Andreas Böhle

*Corresponding author for this work
149 Citations (Scopus)


The HER2 (c-erbB-2) receptor is overexpressed in a variety of human malignant tumors and, in breast carcinoma, has been identified as a target for anti-HER2-directed therapy with the monoclonal antibody (MAb) trastuzumab. The aim of this retrospective study was to evaluate immunohistochemic HER2 expression in a large cohort of muscle-invasive urothelial cell carcinomas of the urinary bladder and to compare the results to pathologic characteristics and survival. Paraffin-embedded tumor specimens from 138 patients undergoing radical cystectomy for muscle-invasive bladder carcinoma were studied immunohistochemically with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved HercepTest (Dako, Glostrup, Denmark). HER2 overexpression was observed in 57 of 138 tumors (41%) and occurred more frequently in high-grade carcinomas than in low-grade carcinomas (p = 0.036). No significant relationship with HER2 overexpression was registered for tumor staging and lymph node status. Kaplan-Meier curves showed a significantly worse disease-related survival (p = 0.034) in patients with HER2-overexpressing tumors compared to those without HER2 overexpression. In addition to lymph node status (p = 0.0001; relative risk [RR] = 2.93), HER2 status (p = 0.020; RR = 2.22) was identified as an independent predictor for disease-related survival in a multivariate analysis. These results suggest that HER2 expression might provide additional prognostic information in patients with muscle-invasive bladder carcinomas. Because many of these patients harbor HER2-overexpressing tumors, clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of trastuzumab in bladder carcinoma are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)514-518
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 10.12.2002


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