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HER3 Receptor Test

Last updated Jan. 9, 2019

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

The HER3 gene mutation can be present in colon cancer.

What are the other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • HER3 Test
  • HER3 Gene Mutation Analysis
  • ErbB-3 Protein Mutation Analysis

What is HER3 Receptor Test? (Background Information)

  • HER3 is found on the surface of tumors. It helps in the growth and spread of the tumor cells. The HER3 gene mutation can be present in breast cancer, colon cancer, gastric cancer, and prostate cancer
  • HER3 Receptor Test is used for determining the choice of chemotherapy medication and to determine the prognosis of the tumor

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the HER3 Receptor Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing the HER3 Receptor Test:

  • To determine the prognosis and treatment options for chemotherapy in certain cases of breast cancer, colon cancer, gastric cancer, and prostate cancer
  • This testing can be performed either at the time of diagnosis of the cancer or on its metastasis or recurrence

How is the Specimen Collected for HER3 Receptor Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for HER3 Receptor Test:

Sample required: Tissue biopsy from site of breast cancer, colon cancer, gastric cancer, or prostate cancer.

Process: A sample of tissue is obtained by inserting a needle into the site of the suspected tumor and aspirating a sample of cells (fine needle aspiration cytology or FNAC). It may also be obtained through a surgical biopsy of the tumor. Biopsy of metastatic cancer can also be used for receptor status testing.

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the HER3 Receptor Test Result?

  • The presence of a HER3 receptor mutation can potentially help in making the choice of chemotherapy medication

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • The human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER) includes 4 receptors, namely HER1, HER2, HER3, and HER4
  • The HER pathways are important in the field of oncology (study of cancer). These help in the signaling pathway of cellular growth and proliferation

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider of the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: June 2, 2015
Last updated: Jan. 9, 2019