Induced abortion as a predictor for HER2 (erbB-2/neu) overexpression in malignant breast tumors

J. L. Brind, A. Lanfranchi, T. L. Chen, Vernon Chinchilli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Overexpression of the cell surface marker HER2 (erB-2/neu) in human breast cancer is associated with aggressive tumor growth and poor prognosis. A history of abortion has also been associated with some histological markers of rapid tumor growth, and with shorter time to tumor recurrence, suggesting a possible association between HER2 and abortion. Methods: We obtained embedded specimens of histologically confirmed, primary breast carcinoma from 184 female patients under age 60, diagnosed between 1994 and 2000. Intake questionnaires completed prior to cancer diagnosis, included reproductive, gynecologic and family history. Patients were grouped according to reproductive history: 1)Full-term pregnancy(ies) only (N=88); 2)Any spontaneous abortions (without induced abortion; N=41); 3)Any induced abortions (N=30); 4)Never pregnant (N=25). HER2 overexpression was detected immunohistochemically and graded on a scale of 0-3+ (0 or 1+ =negative; 2+ or 3+ =positive). Results: There was no association between induced abortion and HER2 overexpression. when patients with any induced abortion history (Group 3) were compared either to Group 1: Odds ratio [OR]=1.01; 95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 0.39-2.54), or to Group4: OR=1.00; 95% CI: 0.29-3.37). There was likewise no association observed between spontaneous abortion and HER2 overexpression (Group 2 v. Group 1: OR=1.05; 95% CI: 0.45-2.42; Group 2 v. Group 4, OR=0.96; 95% CI: 0.30-2.99). A comparison of subjects never pregnant (Group 4) to Groups 1, 2 and 3 also revealed no association (OR=0.99; 95% CI: 0.37-2.54). Conclusion: Although the sample size was small and the confidence intervals therefore wide, the lack of any hint of an association suggests that there is no relationship between induced abortion specifically-or reproductive history generally-and HER2 overexpression in malignant breast tumor tissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265
Number of pages1
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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