HER-2 fluorescence in situ hybridization: Results from the Survey Program of the College of American Pathologists

Diane L. Persons, Raymond R. Tubbs, Linda D. Cooley, Gordon W. Dewald, Patricia K. Dowling, Emma Du, James T. Mascarello, Kathleen W. Rao, Kathleen S. Wilson, Daynna J. Wolff, Gail Habegger-Vance

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Context. - Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) is a common method used to determine HER-2 status in breast cancer. Limited information is available concerning reproducibility of FISH in determining HER-2 gene amplification. Objective. - To present proficiency testing results of FISH for HER-2 conducted by the Cytogenetics Resource Committee of the College of American Pathologists/American College of Medical Genetics. Design. - During the past 5 years, unstained sections from 9 invasive breast carcinomas were used for HER-2 FISH proficiency testing, allowing for comparison of FISH results among a large number of laboratories. Additional data were collected using an educational (ungraded) challenge and supplemental questions in the surveys. Results. - The number of laboratories participating in HER-2 FISH proficiency testing has increased steadily during the past 5 years (from 35 in 2000 to 139 in 2004). Reproducibility of test results among laboratories was excellent for breast tumors with low copy number (no HER- 2 amplification) and for breast tumors with high copy number (HER-2 amplification). However, there was considerable variation in interpretation of results for a tumor with low-level HER-2 amplification that was tested on 2 separate occasions. Responses to supplemental questions indicated that there was a need for consensus on the use of a separate equivocal/borderline interpretative category and the need for standardization of cutoff values used to define interpretative categories. Conclusions. - The College of American Pathologists proficiency survey programs provide useful information concerning the reproducibility of clinical testing for HER-2 by FISH and reflect clinical interpretation of HER-2 FISH analyses from laboratories across the country.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-331
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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