Angiogenesis and c-erbB-2 (HER2/neu) overexpression status in primary breast cancer patients: an analysis of 158 needle core biopsies

Vol. 48 No. 2, 2007


S. Vameşu

Angiogenesis, formation of new blood vessels from a preexisting vascular bed is a complex multistep process, which may also permit metastasis. The subset of patients with breast cancer demonstrating a c-erbB-2 (HER2/neu)-positive status has aggressive tumors and a poor prognosis. To investigate how tumor angiogenesis correlates with c-erbB-2 (HER2/neu) overexpression in breast carcinoma diagnosed on core biopsy, microvessels were counted (and graded the density of microvessels) within the initial invasive carcinomas of 158 patients. Using light microscopy, the number of microvessels was counted manually in a subjectively selected hot spot (in the most active areas of neovascularization per 400x field), and their values were separated as above or below median (low and high), without knowledge of the outcome in the patient or any other pertinent variable. When the mean values of MVD of the various groups defined by c-erbB-2 (HER2/neu) overexpression were compared, significant difference was noted (P = 0.014818). When tumors were classified as high or low MVD, based on a cut-off value (30.70175 microvessels/square-mm), cases with high MVD were significantly more numerous. MVD did show a relationship with groups defined by c-erbB-2 (HER2/neu) status (P = 0.002699) or c-erbB-2 (HER2/neu) score (P = 0.027589). The correlation of angiogenesis with c-erbB-2 (HER2/neu) overexpression may be a potential therapeutic target for the treatment and prevention of breast cancer, using antiangiogenic molecules.

Corresponding author: Sorin Vameşu, MD, PhD, e-mail:

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