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Immunohistochemistry and Multigene Assays in Breast Cancer


Gene signatures which are based on multigene profiling assays have been developed for the purpose to better define the prognosis and prediction of therapy results in early-stage breast cancer. These assays were designed to be more specific than conventional clinico-pathologic parameters in the selection of patients for (neo-)adjuvant treatment and in effect help to avoid unnecessary cytotoxic treatment (Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd. 2013 Sep;73(9):932-940). This presentation reviews the terms of these assays, analytical strengths of the assays, correlation between methodologies, and model for integrating assays in laboratories.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Overview of the differences between immunohistochemistry and multigene assays in terms of, methodology, analytes, quantitative accuracy and precision, and susceptibility to contamination by non-tumor cells.
  2. Review the analytical strengths and limitations of immunohistochemistry and multigene assays used in breast cancer prognostic/predictive testing.
  3. Explain and outline an approach to retrospectively or prospectively correlate immunohistochemistry results with multigene assay results on breast cancer cases from an institution.
  4. Discuss a model for integrating immunohistochemistry results in the decision process for ordering breast cancer prognostic/predictive multigene assay tests.

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