Signal transduction proteins in tumors from Puerto Rican and Caucasian gastric adenocarcinoma patients: expression differences with potential for specific targeted therapies. Academic Article Case Study uri icon


  • Overexpression of the HER2/NEU gene is associated with aggressive behavior and poor prognosis in breast cancer, making the Her2/neu protein a directed-therapy target. Tumors of two Puerto Rican (PR) patients overexpressed Her2/neu and resulting partial clinical responses motivated us to compare Her2/neu expression in PR (n = 101) and Caucasian non-Hispanic (n = 95) patients. Immunohistochemistry of tumors showed overexpression of p-Stat3, Cyclin D1, and Her2/neu, compared to non-neoplastic mucosa. Her2/neu and EGF-R protein levels were statistically significantly different with higher levels of both proteins in the PR group. Importantly, Her2/neu expression was strong and diffuse in tumors with signet-ring morphology, while other histo-pathological subtypes showed higher intra-tumoral Her2/neu heterogeneity than typically observed in breast cancer. Targeted therapies in gastric cancer directed at EGF-R and Hers-2/neu pathways warrant further investigation. These therapies may be especially effective in PR patients and in patients with signet-ring cell morphologies with a dismal prognosis.

publication date

  • 2008