A study of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 overexpression by immunohistochemistry in patients with gastric adenocarcinoma


  • Rafid A. Abood Basra College of Medicine; Basra Oncology and Hematology Center https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8615-4099
  • Saad Alomar Basra College of Medicine; Depatment of Pathology, Al Sadar Teaching Hospital https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6912-3872
  • Sawsan S. Alharoon Basra College of Medicine; Depatment of Pathology, Al Sadar Teaching Hospital




Gastric cancer, adenocarcinoma, HER2, overactivity, Iraq, clinicopathological features, prevalence


Gastric cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer‑related deaths across the world and in the Middle East. Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) overexpression has been observed in gastric cancers. Trastuzumab, a recombinant monoclonal antibody targeting HER2 protein, is being used for treatment of metastatic gastric cancer. To study the frequency and association of HER2 overexpression with age, gender, histopathological subtype and grade of differentiation in patients with gastric adenocarcinoma from Basra, Iraq. This cross‑sectional single‑center study collected demographic (age, gender), histopathological (histological subtype, grade of differentiation) and immunohistochemical (HER2 overexpression status) data from 100 consenting adult patients (male: 56) with histopathologically confirmed gastric adenocarcinoma from samples obtained through endoscopy or surgery. HER2 overexpression (ToGA score 3+) was observed in 6/100 (6%) of patients, with another 6 showing ‘equivocal’ HER2 expression (2+). Out of 20 patients with moderately differentiated gastric cancer, 4 (20%) showed HER2 overexpression (P=0.008). Other factors considered (age, gender, histological subtype) did not show statistically significant correlation with HER2 overexpression. More females showed HER2 overexpression than males (4 vs. 2), and more patients with intestinal type gastric cancer showed HER2 overexpression than diffuse gastric cancer (5 vs. 1), but the difference was not statistically significant in both variables. HER2 overexpression was 6% in this population; statistically significant correlation was found with histological grade. Statistically non‑significant correlations were observed between HER2 overexpression and gender, age, and histological subtype.

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How to Cite

Abood, R. A., Alomar, S., & Alharoon, S. S. (2023). A study of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 overexpression by immunohistochemistry in patients with gastric adenocarcinoma. Journal of Public Health in Africa, 14(9). https://doi.org/10.4081/jphia.2023.2721



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