Clinical and Translational Oncology

, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 462–468 | Cite as

The NanoString-based multigene assay as a novel platform to screen EGFR, HER2, and MET in patients with advanced gastric cancer

  • S. T. Kim
  • I.-G. Do
  • J. LeeEmail author
  • I. Sohn
  • K.-M. KimEmail author
  • W. K. Kang
Research Article



Molecular targets are emerging rapidly and the development of clinical tests that simultaneously screen for multiple targets has become especially important. We assessed the gene expression levels of three known targets in advanced gastric cancer, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2), and N-methyl-N-nitrosoguanidine human osteosarcoma transforming gene (MET), using the nCounter® assay (NanoString Technologies, Seattle, WA, USA) and compared these results with protein overexpression, detected by immunohistochemistry, to evaluate the performance of this new technology.


We investigated 42 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumor samples from patients with gastric cancer. A NanoString-based assay containing a 522 kinase gene panel was investigated. We analyzed the correlations between immunohistochemical findings and kinase gene expression levels of EGFR, HER2 and MET to validate this assay.


EGFR, HER2, and MET overexpression were observed in 7 (16.6 %), 5 (11.9 %), and 3 (7.1 %) cases, respectively. For EGFR, HER2, and MET, the concordance rates between the NanoString-based assay results and the immunohistochemistry methods were 83.3, 97.6, and 100 %, respectively. Relative to immunohistochemistry findings, the NanoString-based assay sensitivities and specificities were 85.7 and 82.8 % for EGFR, 100 and 97.2 % for HER2, and 100 and 100 % for MET, respectively.


We found a high concordance between immunohistochemistry- and nCounter-based assessments of EGFR, HER2, and MET in advanced gastric cancer. Judged against immunohistochemistry results, the NanoString assay had high sensitivities and high specificities. These results suggest that the nCounter assay provides a reliable, high-throughput assay to simultaneously screen for the overexpression of several target proteins.


Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) Human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2) N-Methyl-N-nitrosoguanidine human osteosarcoma transforming gene (MET) NanoString Immunohistochemistry Gastric cancer 



This work was supported by a grant from the Korean Health Technology R&D Project, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (A102166, HI13C1951 and HI13C-2096). This study was supported by Samsung Biomedical Research Institute (#SMX1131871). This work was supported by grants from 20 by 20 project of Samsung Medical Center (GF01140111).

Conflict of interest

No potential conflicts of interest were disclosed by all authors.


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Copyright information

© Federación de Sociedades Españolas de Oncología (FESEO) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine, Samsung Medical CenterSungkyunkwan University School of MedicineSeoulKorea
  2. 2.Gastric Cancer Center, Samsung Medical CenterSungkyunkwan University School of MedicineSeoulKorea
  3. 3.Department of Pathology and Translational Genomics, Samsung Medical CenterSungkyunkwan University School of MedicineSeoulKorea
  4. 4.Department of Pathology, Center for Companion Diagnostics, The Innovative Cancer Medicine Institute, Samsung Medical CenterSungkyunkwan University School of MedicineSeoulKorea
  5. 5.Samsung Cancer Research InstituteSeoulKorea

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