Cancer Cell International (Feb 2023)
Changes in HER3 expression profiles between primary and recurrent gynecological cancers
Abstract Background Human epidermal growth factor receptor-3 (HER3) is a member of the epidermal growth factor receptor family of receptor tyrosine kinases, and its overexpression is associated with inferior prognosis in several cancers. However, it is unclear whether HER3 expression status changes in tumor tissue at recurrence. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the changes in HER3 expression between primary and recurrent status in gynecological cancers. Methods This retrospective study used matched-pair tissues of gynecological cancer patients at initial diagnosis and at recurrence. Immunohistochemical (IHC) scores of 3 + or 2 + were termed “HER3-high”, while IHC scores of 1 + or 0 were designated as “HER3-low/zero”. Results A total of 86 patients (40 with ovarian cancers, 32 with endometrial cancers, and 14 with cervical cancers) were included in this study. In ovarian cancer, 67.5% and 80.0% of the patients received a HER3-high at initial and recurrent diagnosis, respectively. The H-score was significantly increased at recurrence (p = 0.004). The proportion of HER3-high endometrial cancer patients increased from 46.9% at initial diagnosis to 68.8% at recurrence, and the H-score tended to increase at recurrence (p = 0.08). The fraction of HER3-high-rated cervical cancer patients remained unchanged at 85.7% both at initial and recurrent diagnosis. The discordance rate of HER3 expression detection in initial and recurrent diagnosis samples was 27.5%, 53.1%, and 14.3% for ovarian, endometrial, and cervical cancers, respectively. Ovarian and endometrial cancers with a HER3-high recurrent score tended to show shorter median survival time than those with a HER3-low/zero recurrent rating. Conclusion Our findings suggest that, in main types of gynecological cancers, the proportion of patients having a HER3-high score increased from initial to recurrent diagnosis.