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MP 2.04.76 Quantitative Assay for Measurement of HER2 Total Protein Expression and HER2 Dimers

Medical Policy    
Original Policy Date
Last Review Status/Date
Reviewed with literature search/10:2014
  Return to Medical Policy Index


Our medical policies are designed for informational purposes only and are not an authorization, or an explanation of benefits, or a contract. Receipt of benefits is subject to satisfaction of all terms and conditions of the coverage. Medical technology is constantly changing, and we reserve the right to review and update our policies periodically.


The HER-family of receptor tyrosine kinases (EGFR/HER1, ErbB2/HER2, ErbB3/HER3, and ErbB4/HER4) plays a major role in the pathogenesis of many solid tumors. In approximately 25-30% of breast cancers, overexpression of HER2 has been linked to shorter disease-free (DFS) and overall survival (OS), lack of responsiveness to tamoxifen antiestrogen therapy and altered responsiveness to a variety of cytotoxic chemotherapy regimens.

Trastuzumab, a monoclonal antibody directed at the extracellular domain of HER2 has offered significant DFS and OS advantages in the metastatic and adjuvant settings in HER2-overexpressing patients, although not all patients respond. Fewer than 50% of patients with metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer show initial benefit from trastuzumab treatment, and many of those eventually develop resistance. (1)

Current methodologies for the selection of HER2-positive patients include immunohistochemistry (IHC) to detect HER2 protein overexpression, and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to detect HER2 gene amplification. However, controversy still exists regarding the accuracy, reliability, and interobserver variability of these assay methods. IHC provides a semiquantitative measure of protein levels (scored as 0, 1+, 2+, and 3+) and the interpretation may be subjective. FISH is a quantitative measurement of gene amplification, in which the HER2 gene copy number is counted. However, FISH, which is considered to be more quantitative analytically, is not always representative of protein expression, and multiple studies have failed to demonstrate a relationship between HER2 gene copy number and response to trastuzumab. Whereas patients who overexpress HER2 protein (IHC) or show evidence of HER2 gene amplification (FISH) have been shown to experience better outcomes on trastuzumab than those scored negative by those assays, differences in the degree of expression or amplification by these methods have generally not been shown to discriminate between groups with different outcomes. IHC and FISH testing may be affected by interlaboratory variability, and neither test provides quantitative data that reflect the activation state of signaling pathways in tumors, which may limit their utility in patient selection. (2) Most laboratories in North America and Europe use IHC to determine HER2 protein status, with equivocal category results (2+) confirmed by FISH (or more recently by chromogenic in situ hybridization (CISH)).

Normally, HER2 activates signaling pathways by dimerizing with ligand-bound EGFR-family members such as HER1 and HER3. A HER2 ligand has not been identified, but overexpressed HER2 is constitutively active. When HER2 is pathologically overexpressed, the receptor may homodimerize and activate signaling cascades in the absence of the normal regulatory control imposed by the requirement for ligand binding of its heterodimerization partners.

A novel assay (HERmark® Breast Cancer Assay, Monogram Biosciences, South San Francisco, CA) was developed to quantify total HER2 protein expression (H2T) and HER2 homodimers (H2D) in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue samples.

Regulatory Status

No U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)‒approved proximity ligation assays for quantifying total HER2 protein expression or HER2 homodimers were identified. HERmark® is a laboratory-developed test (LDT). Clinical laboratories may develop and validate tests in-house and market them as a laboratory service; LDTs must meet the general regulatory standards of the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA). HERmark® is available under the auspices of CLIA. Laboratories that offer LDTs must be licensed by CLIA for high-complexity testing. To date, FDA does not require any regulatory review of this test.


The assessment of HER2 status by quantitative total HER2 protein expression and HER2 homodimer measurement is considered investigational.

Policy Guidelines

There is no specific CPT code for this testing. It would likely be reported using CPT code 84999 - Unlisted chemistry procedure.

Benefit Application

BlueCard/National Account Issues

No applicable information.






This policy was created in 2011, with the most recent MEDLINE literature search performed through September 17, 2014.

Validation of biomarker assessment to improve treatment outcomes is a multistep process. In general, important steps in the validation process address the following:

Analytic validity: measures technical performance, ie, whether the test accurately and reproducibly detects the biomarker of interest.

Clinical validity: measures the strength of the associations between the selected biomarkers and clinical status.

Clinical utility: determines whether the use of specific biomarker assessments to guide treatment decisions improves patient outcomes such as survival or adverse event rate compared with standard treatment without genotyping.

Technical Performance of the Assay (Analytic Validity)

The HERmark® assay uses a proprietary, proximity-based platform (proximity ligation assay) to measure total HER2 protein expression (H2T) and HER2 homodimers (H2D). Antibody binding to HER2 and other HER proteins releases fluorescent reporter tags (VeraTag™, Monogram Biosciences). Proximity of a bound HER2 antibody to a different bound HER antibody indicates a HER2 protein (H2T); proximity of 2 bound HER2 antibodies indicates a HER2 homodimer (H2D). Quantification of fluorescence permits quantification of H2T and H2D.

The HERmark® assay is currently commercially available only for quantification of H2T and H2D in breast cancer. The company plans to validate use of the HERmark® test to measure HER heterodimers. The company website indicates that assays currently are available for HER2:HER1 and HER2:HER3 heterodimers; these apparently are for use in drug development.(3)

HER2 protein quantification was normalized to tumor area and compared with receptor numbers in 12 human tumor cell lines (determined by fluorescence-activated cell sorting and standard immunohistochemistry [IHC]) and to IHC categories in 170 human breast tumors.(2) In contrast to conventional IHC test categories, HER2 protein levels determined by the VeraTag™ assay represent a continuous measurement over a dynamic range greater than 2 log10, and HER2 homodimer levels were
consistent with crosslinking and immunoprecipitation results.

Huang et al (2010) compared results of the HERmark® assay with those of IHC and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) centrally performed at the Mayo Clinic in 237 archived formalin-fixed, paraffinembedded (FFPE) breast cancers.(4) IHC had already been performed at the time of initial diagnosis in all of the cases but was repeated for the purpose of this validation, and interpreted by 1 reviewer and scored as negative, equivocal, or positive according to the American Society of Clinical Oncologists/College of American Pathologists guidelines.(5) Reflex FISH for HER2 gene amplification also had been performed at the time of initial diagnosis on all 94 of the IHC 2+ cases. Repeat FISH was performed at the same laboratory and an overall evaluation performed by 1 pathologist. Of the 84 cases in the immunohistochemically negative subgroup, 80 (95%), 2 (2%), and 2 (2%) were classified as negative, equivocal, and positive by HERmark®, respectively. Of the 101 cases in the immunohistochemically equivocal subgroup, 33 (32.7%), 31 (30.7%), and 37 (36.6%) were classified as negative, equivocal, and positive by HERmark®, respectively. Of the 52 cases in the immunohistochemically positive subgroup, 1 (2%), 3 (6%), and 48 (92%) were classified as negative, equivocal, and positive by HERmark®, respectively. Overall concordance was 67%, with a weighted κ of 63% (95% confidence interval [CI], 55% to 70%). When equivocal cases were excluded from the HERmark® and IHC results, positive and negative concordance between HERmark® and central immunohistochemical testing was 98%, and overall concordance was 98%, with a κ of 95% (95% CI, 89% to 100%).

Reflex FISH was performed on 94 breast cancers that had been determined as 2+ immunohistochemically at the time of initial diagnosis. Variable H2T and H2D levels were correlated with corresponding results for the HER2/centromeric probe for chromosome 17 (HER2/CEP17) ratio. Of 94 cases that were 2+ immunohistochemically, 62 (66%), 5 (5%), and 27 (29%) were determined at the same central laboratory as negative (<10.5), equivocal (10.5 ≤H2T ≤17.8), and positive (>17.8) by FISH,
respectively. (Units of H2T measurement are relative fluorescence [defined as relative peak area x illumination buffer volume] per mm2 of invasive tumor [RF/mm2 ].) Of 62 FISH-negative cases, 24 (39%), 21 (34%), and 17 (27%) were determined as negative, equivocal, and positive by HERmark®, respectively. Of 5 FISH-equivocal cases, 1 (20%), 2 (40%), and 2 (40%) were determined as negative, equivocal, and positive by HERmark®, respectively. Of 27 FISH-positive cases, 3 (11%), 6 (22%), and 18 (67%) were determined as negative, equivocal, and positive by HERmark®, respectively.

How Well Does HERmark® Predict Subpopulation Response to Trastuzumab? (Clinical Validity)

Bates et al (2011) measured H2T in FFPE primary breast tumors from 98 women treated with trastuzumab-based therapy for metastatic breast cancer.(6) Using subpopulation treatment effect pattern plots, the population was divided into H2T low (H2T <13.8), H2T high (H2T ≥68.5), and H2T intermediate (13.8 ≤H2T<68.5) subgroups. Kaplan-Meier analyses were used to compare groups for time-toprogression (TTP) and overall survival (OS). Cox multivariate analyses were used to identify correlates of clinical outcome. Bootstrapping analyses were used to test robustness of results. TTP improved with increasing H2T until, at the highest levels of H2T, an abrupt decrease in the TTP was observed. Kaplan-Meier analyses demonstrated that patients with H2T low tumors (median TTP, 4.2 months; hazard ratio [HR], 3.7; p<0.001) or H2T high tumors (median TTP, 4.6 months; HR=2.7; p=0.008) had significantly shorter TTP than patients whose tumors were H2T intermediate (median TTP, 12 months). OS analyses yielded similar results. The authors concluded that patients with high levels of H2T may represent a subgroup with de novo resistance to trastuzumab but that these results were preliminary and required confirmation in larger controlled clinical cohorts.


Joensuu et al (2011) reported results of measurement of H2T using HERmark® from formalin-fixed tumor tissue of 899 women (89%) who participated in the FinHer trial (ISRCTN76560285) to determine if very high tumor H2T content influences outcome in early breast cancer treated with adjuvant trastuzumab plus chemotherapy.(7) In a chromogenic in situ hybridization (CISH) test, 197 patients (21.9%) had HER2-positive cancer and were randomly assigned to receive trastuzumab or control. Tumor H2T levels varied greatly, by 1808-fold. High H2T levels strongly correlated with a positive HER2 status by CISH (p<0.001). Patients with very high H2T (defined by ≥22-fold the median of HER2-negative cancers [5.7; range, 0.4-118.4]; 13% of CISH-positive cancers) did not benefit from adjuvant trastuzumab (HR for distant recurrence, 1.23; 95% CI, 0.33 to 4.62; p=0.75), whereas the remaining patients with HER2-positive disease by CISH (87%) did benefit (HR for distant recurrence, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.28 to 1.00; p=0.050). The authors concluded that patients with HER2-positive breast cancer with very high tumor HER2 content may benefit less from adjuvant trastuzumab compared with those whose cancer has more moderate HER2 content.

Toi et al (2010) investigated the relationship between H2T or H2D and OS in 72 patients drawn from 6 oncology clinics in Japan who had metastatic breast cancer and had been treated with at least 1 chemotherapy regimen before receiving trastuzumab.(8) Patients were originally selected for treatment with trastuzumab by IHC (88%) or FISH (12%). HERmark® assay results were correlated with OS using univariate Kaplan-Meier, hazard function plots, and multivariate Cox regression analyses. Clinical outcome data were drawn from medical chart review. Measurements of H2T and H2D were tested for association with OS, defined as the time from start of trastuzumab treatment to cancer-associated death or end of follow-up (median, 18.2 months). Median duration of trastuzumab treatment was 14.6 months. Overall 2-year survival was 60.8% (95% CI, 48.4% to 73.2%). In univariate analyses, patients were classified into 4 subgroups defined by the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles for each of the 3  variables, H2T, H2D, and their ratio, H2D/H2T. Hazard function plots were estimated in the 4 H2T subgroups, and subgroups with the 25% highest and lowest H2T values had substantially lower risk of death than the middle 2 subgroups. Dividing the cohort into high HER2-expressing (≥ the median value of H2T) and low HER2-expressing (< the median value of H2T) subgroups and using Cox regression with the continuous H2T value in each of subgroup, patients with higher HER2 values had longer survival than those with lower H2T values in the high HER2-expressing group (HR=0.06; p=0.010; 95% CI, 0.01 to 0.51). In contrast, in the low HER2-expressing group, the opposite trend (those with lower H2T values were favored) was observed (HR=16.0; p=0.017; 95% CI, 1.64 to 155.9). The authors concluded that there are
2 subpopulations of patients in this cohort that behave differently with respect to HER2 expression and OS and that the quantitative amount of HER2 expression measured by HERmark® may be a useful new marker to identify a more relevant target population for trastuzumab treatment in patients with metastatic breast cancer.

Lipton et al (2010) used the HERmark® assay to quantify HER2 expression and examined outcomes in 102 trastuzumab-treated metastatic breast cancer patients previously assessed as IHC 3+ by local but not central IHC, or FISH-positive, and then retested by central FISH.(9) Of 102 metastatic breast cancer patients previously scored as IHC 3+ or 2+/FISH-positive and treated with trastuzumab-containing regimens, 98 had both central FISH and H2T values. Sixty-six (87%) of 76 central FISH-positive patients had high H2T levels (concordant positive), and 19 (86%) of 22 central FISH-negative patients were H2T low (concordant negative). Three (14%) of 22 central FISH-negative patients were H2T high (discordant H2T high), and 10 (13%) of 76 central FISH-positive patients were H2T low (discordant H2T low). The concordant positive group had a significantly longer TTP (median, 11.3 months) compared with the concordant negative group (median, 4.5 months; HR=0.42; p<0.001), and also compared with the discordant H2T low group (median, 3.7 months; HR=0.43; p=0.01). The discordant H2T low group behaved similarly compared with  concordant negatives (HR=1; p=0.99). In analyses restricted to central FISH-positive patients only (n=77), Cox proportional hazards multivariate regression identified H2T as an independent predictor of TTP (HR=0.29; p<0.001) and OS (HR=0.19, p<0.001). The authors concluded that a subset of patients with HER2 gene amplification by FISH express low levels of HER2 protein and have reduced response to trastuzumab-containing therapy, similar to FISH-negative.

In a subsequent retrospective analysis of this cohort, Lipton et al (2013) examined progression-free survival (PFS) and OS in subgroups defined by expression of HER3 (H3T) and p95HER2 (p95), a truncated form of HER2 that does not bind trastuzumab and is a marker of trastuzumab resistance.(10)

HER3 and p95 were quantified using VeraTag™ platforms. Results of H3T analysis were available from 89 patients; of these, 61 (69%) were H2T-high (>13.8). Within this group, median PFS was 12.1 months in patients with low H3T (≤3.5) and 5.0 months in patients with high H3T (>3.5; HR=2.7; p=0.002). Median PFS in patients with low H2T (<13.8) was 4.2 months. No significant difference in OS was observed among any groups. In exploratory analysis using regression tree analysis (recursive partitioning), the first split of the tree was based on a H2T cutoff of 16.1, separating patients with low HER2 expression (H2T <16.1) from those with high HER2 expression (H2T ≥16.1). Patients were next segregated by intermediate HER2 expression (16.1 ≤H2T ≤68.3) versus very high HER2 expression (H2T >68.3). H2T cutoffs of 16.1 and 68.3 to define low, intermediate, and high groups were found to have greater discrimination. Median PFS (15.7 months) and OS (47.6 months) were longest in the subgroup characterized as H2T-intermediate (16.1 ≤H2T≤68.3), H3T-low (≤3.89), and p95 low (≤3.75), compared with other groups (median PFS range, 4.0-7.8 months; median OS range, 23-27 months). In the entire group of HER2-positive, trastuzumab-treated patients, low (normal) H2T (≤16.1) and very high H2T (>68.3) were correlated with shorter PFS and OS. A subsequent study that used VeraTag™ to quantify p95HER2 found significantly shorter PFS and OS among H2T-positive, hormone receptor-positive,
trastuzumab-treated patients with high p95, using a different cutoff of 2.8.(11) This association was not found among hormone receptor-negative patients.

Han et al (2012) performed a similar retrospective analysis in 52 women with locally advanced or metastatic HER2-positive (3+ on IHC or gene amplification by FISH) breast cancer that had progressed after treatment with an anthracycline, a taxane, and trastuzumab.(12) Patients were treated with lapatinib and capecitabine until disease progression or intolerance. Among all patients, median TTP was longer in patients with high H2T (>13.8; 5.0 months) than in patients with low H2T (<13.8; 1.8 months; p=0.047). However, a cutoff of 14.95 had greater discrimination (lower chi-square p value). Results were similar using this cutoff; median TTP in patients with high H2T (>14.95) was 5.2 months and in those with low H2T (<14.95), 1.8 months (p=0.018). No significant association was found between H2T levels and OS using either cut point. Among subgroups defined by H3T levels, median TTP was significantly longer (5.6 months) in patients with both high H2T (>14.95) and high H3T (>0.605) than in other groups (2.2 months; p=0.002).

Duchnowska et al (2012) investigated the correlation between H2T in primary breast cancers and time-tobrain metastasis (TTBM) in HER2+ advanced breast cancer patients treated with trastuzumab.(13) The patient sample included 142 consecutive patients who were administered trastuzumab-based therapy for HER2+ metastatic breast cancer. HER2/neu gene copy number was quantified as the HER2/CEP17 ratio by central laboratory FISH. HER2 protein was quantified as H2T by the HERmark® assay in FFPE tumor samples. HER2 variables were correlated with clinical features, and TTBM was measured from the initiation of trastuzumab-containing therapy. A higher H2T level (continuous variable) was correlated with shorter TTBM, whereas HER2 amplification by FISH and a continuous HER2/CEP17 ratio were not predictive (p=0.013, 0.28, and 0.25, respectively). In the subset of patients that was centrally determined by FISH to be HER2+, an above-the-median H2T level (>58) was significantly associated with a shorter TTBM (HR=2.4. p=0.005), whereas this was not true for the median HER2/CEP17 ratio by FISH (p=0.4). Correlation between a continuous H2T level and TTBM was confirmed on multivariate analysis (HR=3.3, p=0.024). The authors concluded that their data revealed a strong relationship between quantitative HER2 protein expression level and risk for brain relapse in HER2+ advanced breast cancer patients and that quantitative assessment of HER2 protein expression may inform and facilitate refinements in therapeutic treatment strategies for selected subpopulations of patients in this group.

Barros et al (2014) used proximity ligation assays to characterize specific HER2 heterodimers and their association with breast-cancer specific survival (BCSS) and disease-free interval (DFI).(14) Tumor samples were from patients who had primary operable, invasive breast cancer at a single center in England. Among 1858 unselected patients, high levels of all 3 HER2 heterodimers (HER2/HER1 [EGFR], HER2/HER3, HER2/HER4) showed statistically worse BCSS and DFI compared with low levels (range of HRs for BCSS, 0.62-0.66 [95% CIs, 0.45 to 0.92]; p values ≤0.014; range of HRs for DFI, 0.64-0.72 [95% CIs, 0.47 to 0.98]; p values ≤0.037). Cut points were determined using X-tile, a graphical method that has been used in breast cancer research.(15) However, among the subgroup of 224 patients who were HER2-positive by IHC/FISH, associations between HER2 heterodimers and patient outcomes were not statistically significant, regardless of trastuzumab therapy. In a follow-up study, Green et al (2014) showed that HER2/HER3 heterodimers were significantly associated with shorter BCSS among unselected estrogen receptor-positive patients, but not among estrogen receptor-negative patients.(16) Among the subset of HER2-positive patients, there was no association between HER2/HER3 heterodimers and BCSS in estrogen receptor-positive or -negative patients who had or had not received trastuzumab.

Section Summary

Retrospective studies report an association between H2T levels and survival outcomes. However, for these analyses, different cut points are used and results are variable (see Table 1).

Table 1. Sumamry of Studies of HERmark® Clinical Validity


Cutoffs used


Favored group






Bates 2011 (6)



The group with intermediate H2T levels experienced the longest TTP and OS.




Joensuu 2011 (7)

not applicable


Patients with HER2-positive breast cancer with very high tumor HER2 content may benefit less from adjuvant trastuzumab compared with those whose cancer has more moderate HER2 content.




Toi 2010 (8)

< median H2Tb

≥ median H2Tb

Patients with higher H2T values (>75%ile) lived longer than those with lower H2T values in the high HER2-expressing group.

Patients with lower H2T values live longer than those with higher H2T values in the low HER2-expressing group.




Lipton 2010 (9)



Better response to trastuzumab at higher levels of HER2 total expression was observed.



Lipton 2013 (10)



Low H2T and high H2T were correlated with shorter PFS and OS.




Han 2012 (12)




TTP was longer in patients with high H2T than in patients with low H2T.




Duchnowska 2012 (13)



Correlation between a continuous H2T level and TTBM was confirmed on multivariate analysis.



Barros (2014)(14) Per
Low heterodimer levels favored among unselected patients; no association observed among trastuzumab-treated or -naive HER2-positive patients x    

NA: not applicable; OS: overall survival; PFS: progression-free survival; TTBM: time to brain metastasis; TTP: time to progression.
aCutoff for very high H2T (≥22-fold the median H2T of cancers HER2-negative by CISH. [5.7])
bAbsolute values not reported.
cMedian H2T level. H2T value of 50 was a better discriminator (smaller p value in Cox models).

Clinical Utility

Data on the clinical utility of HERmark® are lacking. Clinical trials are needed to understand the relationship between quantitative HER2 expression and homodimer measurements with clinical outcomes in breast cancer patients stratified by the HERmark® assay receiving anti-HER2 therapy in the adjuvant and metastatic settings.

Ongoing and Unpublished Clinical Trials
No current trials were identified at using the search terms “HERMark” or “VeraTag.”

Summary of Evidence
Retrospective analyses using HERmark® have shown that the assay may predict a worse response to trastuzumab in certain populations. However, findings are inconsistent, and no clear association with clinical outcomes has been shown. Additionally, cut points for defining patient groups varied across studies. Clinical utility of the HERmark® assay has not been demonstrated, and clinical trials are needed to determine the impact on clinical outcomes of patients stratified by the HERmark® assay.

Practice Guidelines and Position Statements
National Comprehensive Cancer Network Guidelines on the treatment of breast cancer (version 3.2014) do not address the use of HERmark®.(17)

National Cancer Institute Physician Query Database returned no trials using HERmark®.

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendations
Measurement of HER2 total protein expression and HER2 dimers is not a preventive service.

Medicare National Coverage
There is no national coverage determination (NCD). In the absence of an NCD, coverage decisions are left to the discretion of local Medicare carriers.

Palmetto GBA determines coverage and reimbursement for laboratories that perform molecular diagnostic testing and submit claims to Medicare in Medicare Jurisdiction E (California, Nevada, Hawaii).

Palmetto GBA’s decisions apply for all molecular diagnostic tests for Medicare.

Palmetto GBA has completed an assessment of HERmark® and determined that the test meets criteria for analytic and clinical validity, and clinical utility as a reasonable and necessary Medicare benefit.(18) Effective December 9, 2011, Palmetto GBA will reimburse HERmark® services for patients with breast cancer.


  1. DeFazio-Eli L, Strommen K, Dao-Pick T et al. Quantitative assays for the measurement of HER1-HER2 heterodimerization and phosphorylation in cell lines and breast tumors: applications for diagnostics and targeted drug mechanism of action. Breast Cancer Res 2011; 13(2):R44.
  2. Shi Y, Huang W, Tan Y et al. A novel proximity assay for the detection of proteins and protein complexes: quantitation of HER1 and HER2 total protein expression and homodimerization in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded cell lines and breast cancer tissue. Diagn Mol Pathol 2009; 18(1):11-21.
  3. Monogram biosciences announces HER2:HER3 heterodimer and HER3/PI3K VeraTag™ assays are now available for use in development of cancer therapeutics: November 11, 2008. Available online at: Last accessed August 2013.
  4. Huang W, Reinholz M, Weidler J et al. Comparison of central HER2 testing with quantitative total HER2 expression and HER2 homodimer measurements using a novel proximity-based assay. Am J Clin Pathol 2010; 134(2):303-11.
  5. Wolff AC, Hammond ME, Schwartz JN et al. American Society of Clinical Oncology/College of American Pathologists guideline recommendations for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 testing in breast cancer. Arch Pathol Lab Med 2007; 131(1):18-43.
  6. Bates M, Sperinde J, Köstler WJ et al. Identification of a subpopulation of metastatic breast cancer patients with very high HER2 expression levels and possible resistance to trastuzumab. Ann Oncol 2011; 22(9):2014-20.
  7. Joensuu H, Sperinde J, Leinonen M et al. Very high quantitative tumor HER2 content and outcome in early breast cancer. Ann Oncol 2011; 22(9):2007-13.
  8. Toi M, Sperinde J, Huang W et al. Differential survival following trastuzumab treatment based on quantitative HER2 expression and HER2 homodimers in a clinic-based cohort of patients with metastatic breast cancer. BMC Cancer 2010; 10:56.
  9. Lipton A, Köstler WJ, Leitzel K et al. Quantitative HER2 protein levels predict outcome in fluorescence in situ hybridization-positive patients with metastatic breast cancer treated with trastuzumab. Cancer 2010; 116(22):5168-78.
  10. Lipton A, Goodman L, Leitzel K et al. HER3, p95HER2, and HER2 protein expression levels define multiple subtypes of HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2013.
  11. Duchnowska R, Sperinde J, Chenna A, et al. Quantitative measurements of tumoral p95HER2 protein expression in metastatic breast cancer patients treated with trastuzumab: independent validation of the p95HER2 clinical cutoff. Clin Cancer Res. May 15 2014;20(10):2805-2813. PMID 24668646
  12. Han SW, Cha Y, Paquet A, et al. Correlation of HER2, p95HER2 and HER3 expression and treatment outcome of lapatinib plus capecitabine in her2-positive metastatic breast cancer. PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e39943. PMID 22848366
  13. Duchnowska R, Biernat W, Szostakiewicz B, et al. Correlation between quantitative HER-2 protein expression and risk for brain metastases in HER-2+ advanced breast cancer patients receiving trastuzumab-containing therapy. Oncologist. 2012;17(1):26-35. PMID 22234627
  14. Barros FF, Abdel-Fatah TM, Moseley P, et al. Characterisation of HER heterodimers in breast cancer using in situ proximity ligation assay. Breast Cancer Res Treat. Apr 2014;144(2):273-285. PMID 24557338
  15. Camp RL, Dolled-Filhart M, Rimm DL. X-tile: a new bio-informatics tool for biomarker assessment and outcomebased cut-point optimization. Clin Cancer Res. Nov 1 2004;10(21):7252-7259. PMID 15534099
  16. Green AR, Barros FF, Abdel-Fatah TM, et al. HER2/HER3 heterodimers and p21 expression are capable of predicting adjuvant trastuzumab response in HER2+ breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat. May 2014;145(1):33-44. PMID 24706169
  17. National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN). Clinical practice guidelines in oncology: breast cancer, version 3.2014. Accessed August 7, 2014.
  18. Palmetto GBA®. MolDX: HERmark assay by Monogram coding and billing guidelines (M00028), last update 06/05/2014. Accessed September 18, 2014.







Unlisted chemistry procedure

ICD-9-CM diagnosis


Investigational for all diagnoses

ICD-10-CM (effective 10/1/15)   Investigational for all diagnoses
ICD-10-PCS (effective 10/1/15)   Not applicable. ICD-10-PCS codes are only used for inpatient services. There are no ICD procedure codes for laboratory tests.


HER2 Quantitative Assay

Policy History 
Date Action Reason
10/04/11 New policy;Add to Medicine section, Pathology/Laboratory subsection Policy created with literature search through September 2011; considered investigational
1/10/13 Replace Policy-Correction Only Reference 10 corrected.
10/10/13 Replace policy Policy updated with a literature search through July 2013; references 3, 11, and 12 added. No change in policy statement. Reference 14 updated.
10/09/14 Replace policy Policy updated with literature review through September 17, 2014; references 11, 14-16, and 18 added; references 3 and 17 updated. No change to policy statement.



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