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Keywords:

  • Asia;
  • breast neoplasms;
  • immunohistochemistry;
  • fluorescence in situ hybridization;
  • erbB-2 receptor

Abstract

Overexpression of the epidermal growth factor receptor-related gene ErbB2 occurs in 18% to 25% of patients with breast cancer in Western countries and is associated with a poor prognosis. The prevalence of ErbB2-positive tumors in Asia is unclear, partly because data are limited. The objective of this review was to summarize the reported prevalence of ErbB2-positive tumors from a large sample of Asian patients and to examine ErbB2 assessment methods in Asia. From searches of MEDLINE, local language journals, and local and international conference proceedings as well as locoregional breast cancer experts' recommendations, the authors selected up to 5 studies each from India, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand that reported ErbB2 results based on assessment with immunohistochemistry (IHC) and/or fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). The reported prevalence of ErbB2-positive tumors in 22 studies on 24,671 patients, of whom 14,398 patients were assessed for ErbB2 status, varied widely (range, 6%-65%) as did the assessment methods used. Most studies (n = 21) used IHC to assess ErbB2 status, but definitions for positivity varied. When robust assessment methods were used, the median prevalence was 19% based on strong IHC staining (IHC3+; n = 9812 patients) and 25% based on FISH (n = 681 patients). Data on the prevalence of ErbB2-positive breast cancer in Asia are limited. The current survey indicated that the prevalence in Asia may be similar to that in Western countries; thus, up to 1 in 4 Asian patients with breast cancer potentially could benefit from ErbB2-targeted treatment. A standard, reliable ErbB2 assessment method available to patients across Asia is urgently required. Cancer 2010. © 2010 American Cancer Society.