International Journal of Colorectal Disease

, Volume 22, Issue 7, pp 827–831 | Cite as

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

  • Dujo Kovačevi
  • Zdenko Sonicki
  • Zvonko Kusi
  • Ante Bolanča
  • Goran Grubiši
  • Maja Lukač
  • Josip Lukač
Original Article


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.


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.


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.


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


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dujo Kovačevi
    • 1
  • Zdenko Sonicki
    • 4
  • Zvonko Kusi
    • 2
  • Ante Bolanča
    • 2
  • Goran Grubiši
    • 3
  • Maja Lukač
    • 2
  • Josip Lukač
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SurgerySisters of Charity University HospitalZagrebCroatia
  2. 2.Department of Oncology and Nuclear MedicineSisters of Charity University HospitalZagrebCroatia
  3. 3.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologySisters of Charity University HospitalZagrebCroatia
  4. 4.School of Public HealthZagrebCroatia

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