Date: 10 Apr 2014

A meta-analysis on concordance between immunohistochemistry (IHC) and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to detect HER2 gene overexpression in breast cancer

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We performed this meta-analysis study to evaluate the concordance and discordance between immunohistochemistry (IHC) and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) in detecting HER2 alteration in human breast cancer.


As a meta-analysis, the present study evaluated the available data from previous studies on the HER2 gene detected by IHC and FISH. To indicate the meta-analysis results, a forest plot was used.


We identified 172 citations, for which our inclusion criteria were met by 18 articles, representing 6629 cases. The overall concordance and discordance rate between IHC staining with score 0/1+ and FISH for detection failure of HER2 expression was 96 and 4 %, respectively. The present study showed that the overall proportion of FISH positive and negative rate for IHC score 2+ for detection of HER2 expression was 36 and 64 %, respectively; and 91 and 9 % for 3+ IHC scores.


The results of this study show that IHC score 0/1+ and 3+ cannot be completely considered as negative and positive breast cancer test, respectively. Therefore, we suggest a valid and complementary test, the same as FISH, to explore HER2 expression.