Purpose: An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the extracellular domain of the c-erbB-2 oncogene product was developed and evaluated to determine if soluble c-erbB-2 could be detected in the serum and effusions of cancer patients. Patients and Methods: Sera from 208 previously untreated or progressing cancer patients and 69 healthy controls were assayed in a double-antibody sandwich ELISA that used two monoclonal antibodies to the native extracellular domain of the c-erbB-2 receptor. Fisher's exact test was used to analyze the statistical significance of the frequency of elevated serum c-erbB-2 levels. Immunoprecipitation and Western blotting were used to characterize further the c-erbB-2 immunoreactivity in the serum of four breast cancer patients. Results: Sera from 12 of 53 patients (23%) with metastatic or locally advanced breast cancer, zero of 69 controls, one of 31 patients with ovarian cancer (3%), and two of 124 other cancer patients (2%) had soluble c-erbB-2 values > to 5 U /mL. The number of breast cancer patients with elevated serum c-erbB-2 levels was significantly greater than that of the control group (P > .0001), the ovarian cancer group (P < .03), and the other cancers group (P < .0001). Also, two of five effusions (40%) from breast cancer patients had an elevated soluble c-erbB-2 antigen level, compared with zero of 17 effusions from patients with benign diseases. Western blotting of four sera from breast cancer patients with elevated serum c-erbB-2 antigen levels produced bands of approximately 105 kD that seemed to correlate in intensity with increasing ELISA serum levels. Conclusion: Serum c-erbB-2 levels are elevated in approximately one fourth of patients with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research