Delay to formalin fixation 'cold ischemia time': Effect on ERBB2 detection by in-situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry

Bryce P. Portier, Zhen Wang, Erinn Downs-Kelly, Jordi J. Rowe, Deepa Patil, Chis Lanigan, G. Thomas Budd, David G. Hicks, David L. Rimm, Raymond R. Tubbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


The American Society of Clinical Oncology/College of American Pathologists ERBB2 testing guidelines address several pre-analytical variables known to affect ERBB2 testing accuracy. According to 2010 updated guidelines, the pre-analytical variable of time to tissue fixation (cold ischemia time) should be kept to <1 h, however, little has been published about cold ischemia time and its significance in ERBB2 testing. To that end, this study evaluated ERBB2 status using two different FDA-approved in-situ hybridization methods and an FDA-approved immunohistochemistry (IHC) assay in the largest cohort to date (n=84) of invasive breast carcinomas with tracked cold ischemia time. Cold ischemia time was stratified into four groups (<1 h (n=45), 1-2 h (n=27), 2-3 h (n=6), and >3 h (n=6)) and ERBB2 status was evaluated in each group by IHC (4B5) and by in-situ hybridization methodologies (PathVysion ® fluorescence in situ hybridization and the INFORM HER2 ® dual in situ DNA probe assay). Both in-situ hybridization methods were evaluated using three ERBB2 scoring criteria (dual-probe guidelines, single-probe guidelines, and the FDA package insert scoring instructions). Fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) and INFORM HER2 ® demonstrated 100% concordance in the detection of ERBB2 amplification by all three scoring guidelines at all cold ischemia time points. Agreement between in-situ hybridization methodologies and IHC was superior using single-probe guidelines compared with dual probe or FDA scoring instructions. In addition, Inform HER2 ® in-situ hybridization signals were significantly more intense than FISH at all cold ischemia time points, however, no significant loss of either chromosome 17 or ERBB2 signal was detected by FISH or Inform HER2 ® in-situ hybridization in cold ischemia times up to 3 h. On the basis of our findings, cold ischemia time up to 3 h has no deleterious effect on the detection of ERBB2 via in-situ hybridization or IHC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • breast carcinoma
  • cold ischemia time
  • ERBB2
  • fluorescence in-situ hybridization
  • HER2
  • inform HER2 dual in-situ hybridization
  • trastuzumab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Delay to formalin fixation 'cold ischemia time': Effect on ERBB2 detection by in-situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this