HER-2 testing

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Also known as: c-erbB-2
Formal name: Human epidermal growth factor receptor-2

At a Glance

Why Get Tested?

To determine whether a cancer, usually a breast cancer, is positive for HER-2 gene amplification or protein expression, which helps to guide treatment and determine outcome. HER-2 evaluation is also used in the assessment of some other cancer types including gastric and oesophageal cancer.

When to Get Tested?

If you have been diagnosed with a cancer which may be responsive to treatment with HER-2 targetted therapy and your doctor wants to determine whether the HER-2 gene is amplified in the tumour.

Sample Required?

A sample of cancer tissue obtained during a biopsy. Generally this test is done on the biopsy taken for initial diagnosis and a second biopsy is not necessary. While HER-2 levels can be assessed in a blood sample, this is not usually done as treatment decisions rely on testing of the cancer cells in biopsy material.

Test Preparation Needed?

None