Her2/neu extracellular domain shedding in uterine serous carcinoma: Implications for immunotherapy with trastuzumab

P. Todeschini, E. Cocco, S. Bellone, J. Varughese, K. Lin, L. Carrara, F. Guzzo, N. Buza, P. Hui, D. A. Silasi, E. Ratner, M. Azodi, P. E. Schwartz, T. J. Rutherford, S. Pecorelli, A. D. Santin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background: We evaluated shedding of epidermal growth factor type II receptor (Her2/neu) extracellular domain (ECD) in primary uterine serous carcinoma (USC) cell lines and in the serum of USC patients and its biological effects in experiments of trastuzumab-induced cytotoxicity in vitro. Methods: Her2/neu expression was evaluated by immunohistochemistry (IHC), real-time PCR and flow cytometry, while c-erbB2 gene amplification was assessed using fluorescent in situ hybridisation (FISH). Her2/neu ECD levels in the supernatants of USC cell lines and in the serum of 38 USC patients and 19 controls were tested using ELISA. The biologic effect of Her2/neu ECD on trastuzumab-induced antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) was evaluated in 5-h chromium-release assays. Results: Five out of ten USC cell lines overexpressed Her2/neu by IHC and showed amplification of the c-erbB2 gene. High levels of Her2/neu ECD were found in supernatants of all FISH-positive tumours. In contrast, FISH-negative USC was negative for Her2/neu ECD shedding. Serum Her2/neu ECD levels in patients harbouring 3+Her2/neu tumours were higher than those found in healthy women (P=0.02) or USC patients with 2+ or 1+/negative Her2/neu expression (P=0.02). In cytotoxicity experiments, trastuzumab-mediated ADCC was significantly decreased by the addition of Her2/neu ECD-containing supernatants (P=0.01). Conclusion: FISH-positive c-erbB2 USC cell lines shed high levels of Her2/neu ECD. High levels of Her2/neu ECD in USC patients may reduce trastuzumab-mediated ADCC in vitro and potentially neutralise its therapeutic effect in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1176-1182
Number of pages7
JournalBritish journal of cancer
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 11 2011


  • Her2/neu
  • Her2/neu extracellular domain (ECD)
  • trastuzumab
  • uterine serous cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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