HER2 Tumor Marker Test

What is a HER2 Tumor Marker Test?

The HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) tumor marker test is a laboratory test used to determine if certain types of breast cancer are likely to respond to certain treatments. Specifically, if the test results are positive, it suggests that the tumor may be more aggressive and requires specific treatments.

Preparation for a HER2 Tumor Marker Test

The patient typically does not need to do anything to prepare for the HER2 tumor marker test, although they should inform their doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding, and of any along-term health issues they have.

Procedure for a HER2 Tumor Marker Test

The HER2 tumor marker test involves taking a sample of breast cancer cells, typically removed during a biopsy or surgery. The sample is examined for evidence of the HER2 gene, either by immunohistochemistry or fluorescent in-situ hybridization (FISH). If the gene is present, the cancer cells are said to be HER2-positive.

Types of HER2 Tumor Marker Test

There are two types of HER2 tumor marker tests: Immunohistochemistry and FISH. Immunohistochemistry is a laboratory technique used to detect specific molecules in tissue samples. FISH is a laboratory technique that uses fluorescent dyes to detect the presence or absence of specific genes in a sample. The HER2 tumor marker test typically uses a combination of both techniques.

Risks of HER2 Tumor Marker Test

The HER2 tumor marker test is generally considered to be safe, with no known risks associated with the procedure. However, it should only be performed by a certified laboratory.

Why a HER2 Tumor Marker Test Is Performed

The HER2 tumor marker test is used to determine if a tumor is likely to be aggressive and would require specific treatments to be effective. Studies have shown that tumors that are HER2-positive are likely to be more aggressive, and may not respond to standard treatments. By determining if the tumor is HER2-positive, it helps to guide the doctor in determining which treatments will be most effective.

When a HER2 Tumor Marker Test Is Performed

The HER2 tumor marker test is usually performed if a breast cancer diagnosis is confirmed. It is recommended for all women with breast cancer, as it helps the doctor determine the best treatment options.