J Gastric Cancer.  2017 Mar;17(1):52-62. 10.5230/jgc.2017.17.e6.

Epidemiologic Study of Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 Expression in Advanced/Metastatic Gastric Cancer: an Assessment of Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 Status in Tumor Tissue Samples of Gastric and Gastro-Esophageal Junction Cancer

  • 1Department of Surgery, Kosin University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea. gslsh@ns.kosinmed.or.kr
  • 2Pusan National University Hospital, Busan, Korea.
  • 3Yeungnam University Medical Center, Daegu, Korea.
  • 4Chosun University Hospital, Gwangju, Korea.
  • 5Inje University Busan Paik Hospital, Busan, Korea.
  • 6Inje University Haeundae Paik Hospital, Busan, Korea.
  • 7Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital, Yangsan, Korea.
  • 8Samsung Changwon Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Changwon, Korea.
  • 9Keimyung University Dongsan Medical Center, Daegu, Korea.
  • 10Dongnam Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences, Busan, Korea.
  • 11Gyeongsang National University Hospital, Jinju, Korea.
  • 12Dankook University Hospital, Cheonan, Korea.
  • 13Daegu Catholic University Medical Center, Daegu, Korea.
  • 14Chonbuk National University Medical School, Jeonju, Korea. ydh@chonbuk.ac.kr


The Trastuzumab for gastric cancer (GC) trial identified human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) as a predictor of successful treatment with trastuzumab (HER2 receptor targeting agent) among patients with advanced/metastatic GC. To date, the prevalence of HER2 overexpression in the Korean population is unknown. The present study aimed to assess the incidence of HER2 positivity among GC and gastroesophageal (GE) junction cancer samples and the relationship between HER2 overexpression and clinicopathological characteristics in Korean patients.
Tumor samples collected from 1,695 patients with histologically proven GC or GE junction enrolled at 14 different hospitals in Korea were examined. After gathering clinicopathological data of all patients, HER2 status was assessed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) at each hospital, and IHC 2+ cases were subjected to silver-enhanced in situ hybridization at 3 central laboratories.
A total of 182 specimens tested positive for HER2, whereas 1,505 tested negative. Therefore, the overall HER2-positive rate in this study was 10.8% (95% confidence interval: 9.3%–12.3%). The HER2-positive rate was higher among intestinal-type cases (17.6%) than among other types, and was higher among patients older than 70 years and 50 years of age, compared to other age groups.
Our evaluation of the HER2 positivity rate (10.8%) among Korean patients with GC and GE junction indicated the necessity of epidemiological data when conducting studies related to HER2 expression in GC and GE junction.


Stomach neoplasms; Receptor, ErbB-2; Incidence; Immunohistochemistry; In situ hybridization
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