Original Article

International Journal of Colorectal Disease

, Volume 22, Issue 7, pp 827-831

First online:

Preoperative serum levels of c-erbB-2 do not seem to be useful in management of patients with rectal cancer

  • Dujo KovačeviAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, Sisters of Charity University Hospital
  • , Zdenko SonickiAffiliated withSchool of Public Health
  • , Zvonko KusiAffiliated withDepartment of Oncology and Nuclear Medicine, Sisters of Charity University Hospital
  • , Ante BolančaAffiliated withDepartment of Oncology and Nuclear Medicine, Sisters of Charity University Hospital
  • , Goran GrubišiAffiliated withDepartment of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sisters of Charity University Hospital
  • , Maja LukačAffiliated withDepartment of Oncology and Nuclear Medicine, Sisters of Charity University Hospital
  • , Josip LukačAffiliated withDepartment of Oncology and Nuclear Medicine, Sisters of Charity University Hospital Email author 

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Abstract

Background and aim

Soluble c-erbB-2 oncoprotein has been proven as a useful marker in the management of breast cancer patients, but its value in diagnostics and follow-up of colorectal cancer patients remains controversial. The aim of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of serum c-erbB-2 monitoring in diagnostics and prediction of disease outcome in rectal cancer patients.

Materials and methods

Serum samples from 88 patients with rectal adenocarcinoma before surgery and from 41 healthy controls were tested for the presence of c-erbB-2 oncoprotein by ELISA, and the patients were followed up for at least 5 years after the surgery.

Results

Preoperative serum c-erbB-2 levels were significantly higher in stage IV patients than in healthy controls (P<0.001) and did not show correlation with preoperative CEA levels. Elevated preoperative serum c-erbB-2 levels showed relatively high specificity (88%) and low sensitivity (44%) in the diagnosis of rectal cancer. Elevated preoperative oncoprotein levels were predictive neither for overall survival nor for development of local recurrence/distant metastases.

Conclusion

Although preoperative serum c-erbB-2 levels were significantly higher in rectal cancer patients than in healthy controls, the soluble c-erbB-2 does not seem to be useful in the diagnosis of rectal cancer due to its low sensitivity. Preoperative serum levels of this oncoprotein were predictive neither for overall survival nor for local recurrence/distant metastases in rectal cancer patients.

Keywords

Rectal cancer Soluble c-erbB-2/HER-2/neu Tumor markers Follow-up