Reliability of HER2 testing?


Question from Portia: How scared should we be about this new study saying HER2 testing isn't accurate? I thought I was HER2-negative, but who knows for sure? Is it the test itself that's the problem, or the pathologists' reading ability?
Answers - Eric Winer, M.D. Your question is an extremely good one. All tests are imperfect; some are a little better than others. In the case of HER2 testing, the single most important variable is to make sure the testing is done by an experienced laboratory. If you have concerns about your own particular situation and your own test results, I suggest you discuss them with your physician. If a test result at the time of diagnosis is equivocal, then it needs further evaluation and should be repeated. I wish HER2 testing and all testing were perfect. In spite of the recent controversies about HER2 testing, most patients should feel comfortable with the knowledge that the vast majority of testing performed is accurate.

On Wednesday, December 15, 2010, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Updates from the 2010 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Eric Winer, M.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answered your questions about the latest updates on breast cancer risk, screening, and treatment in early and metastatic breast cancer.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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