Fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (FGFR2) amplification has been reported to be a target for treatment in gastric cancer. However, an optimal tissue source and method for evaluating FGFR2 have yet to be established.
Copy numbers were compared by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) using frozen vs formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue and biopsy vs surgical specimens. We correlated the results of qPCR and immunohistochemistry (IHC) with fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) using stage IV gastric cancer biopsy specimens and validated the results in surgical specimens.
FFPE tissues were suitable for qPCR, and biopsy specimens were equivalent to or better than surgical specimens. qPCR and IHC results exhibited an excellent correlation with FISH at eight or more copies by qPCR in any kind of tissue, 5% or more by IHC in biopsy specimens, and 10% or more by IHC in surgical specimens. FGFR2 amplification was 6.6% in stage IV gastric cancers, and 42% of these showed heterogeneous amplification and overexpression. IHC indicated a good correlation with FISH even in the heterogeneous cases.
FFPE biopsy tissues are an adequate source for FGFR2 evaluation in gastric carcinomas, and a qPCR-based copy number assay can be used for screening. IHC is also a valid and practical method for evaluating FGFR2, considering frequent heterogeneity.