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What is HER2?

HER2/neu or HER2 is a cell membrane protein that promotes breast cell growth. Neoplastic cells, with amplified or overexpressed levels, are called HER2+ (positive). These cancers tend to grow and spread more quickly than other types of breast cancer. It is important to know their HER2 status as they can benefit from treatment with specific medications, such as some monoclonal antibodies.

If the results are 0 or 1+, the cancer is HER2- (negative)

When the result of the immunohistochemical test is 2+, the HER2 status of the tumor is not defined. This implies repeating the FISH test, which is the Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization, a more accurate exam.

If the result is 3+, the cancer is HER2+.

What is Triple Negative Breast Cancer?

Triple negative breast cancer has no estrogen or progesterone receptor and no HER2 protein. These cancers tend to be more common in younger women and in black or Hispanic/Latino women. Triple negative breast cancers grow and spread faster than most other types of breast cancer. Testing negative for estrogen receptors (ER-), progesterone receptors (PR-), and HER2 (HER2-), in a pathology report, means the cancer is "triple negative". These negative results indicate that cancer growth is not supported by the hormones estrogen and progesterone, nor by the presence of HER2. Because cancer cells do not have hormone receptors, hormone therapy is not useful in treating these cancers, or therapies targeting HER2 receptors. However, other medications can be used to treat triple negative breast cancer.

How to assess cell proliferation?

Cell proliferation is how quickly a neoplastic cell divides into two cells. If the malignant cells are dividing faster, it means the cancer is more aggressive.

The S-phase fraction is the percentage of cells in a sample that replicate DNA. DNA replication means that the cell prepares to divide into two new cells. The rate of division of cancer cells can also be estimated by the Ki-67 test. If the S-phase fraction or the Ki-67 index is elevated, it means that cancer cells divide more quickly, which indicates more aggressive cancer.

In some cases, the Ki-67 exam can be used to help plan treatment or estimate treatment outcomes.

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Sorocaba Medical Center


Rua Sorocaba, 464 - room 202

Tel. 21 2537-0138 / 2539-5093

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Americas Medical City

Barra da Tijuca

Av. Jorge Curi, 550 - rooms 252/253

Tel. 21 3264-4866 / 3264-4863

    Tuesday and Thursday

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