HER-2 is a protein that acts as a cell growth factor receptor, and it’s located on the cellular membrane. As such, HER-2 is considered a membrane receptor. HER-2 receptor can have its expression increased in roughly 25% of breast cancer cases. In these cases, one of the stimuli for excessive cancerous cell replication DECORRE from the bond between growth factors and the HER-2 receptors, present in higher numbers in such cells.
Nowadays there are drugs able to block the growth stimulus action of the HER-2 receptor. Among these drugs are trastuzumab and lapatinib. As such, it’s imperative for women with breast cancer to take the test to verify whether they have increased expression on the HER-2 receptor, allowing the identification of candidates to treatment with said drugs.
The test for diagnosis of increased expression on HER-2 receptors is performed through microscopical analysis of a tumor fragment, employing the immunohistochemistry or FISH technique.
To know more about breast cancer treatment, refer to the “breast cancer” section.