What is the HER2 Antigen?

HER2 is a tumor-related antigen also known as ERBB2 or NEU. The HER2 gene encodes a human epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) that is overexpressed by several tumor types, most notably in breast and ovarian cancers. 

Many women (and men) are interested to know their HER2 status. HER2 gene amplification causes the HER2 gene to make too many copies in about 10–20% of breast cancers. HER2-positive breast cancers have been found to grow, spread, and return at a higher rate than HER2-negative breast cancers. 

The impact of the HER2 receptor isn’t limited to breast cancer alone. Increased HER2 expression has been indicated in breast, ovarian, lung, and colorectal cancers. 

Current HER2 Treatments

The most popular treatment, Herceptin, is an antibody drug that targets the overexpressed HER2 antigen that fuels the growth of tumor cells. Other treatments include:

  • Enhertu: A combination of a medicine similar to Herceptin, plus chemotherapy medicine topoisomerase I inhibitor
  • Kadcyla: Herceptin plus chemotherapy medicine emtansine
  • Nerlynx: Extended adjuvant therapy designed to be taken after Herceptin treatment
  • Perjeta: Used in combination with Herceptin and chemotherapy
  • Tykerb: Given in combination with chemotherapy Xeloda

Schematic diagram of HER2 signaling pathways. From https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Schematic-diagram-of-HER2-signaling-pathways-Upon-ligand-binding-dimerization-between_fig2_311652882

Anti-HER2 T Cells for Research

This list of treatments is just the beginning of targeted therapies for treating HER2-positive cancers. If you’re in pursuit of HER2-positive cancer treatments and cures, try our anti-HER2 T cells in your lab.  

Our new T cells specific to HER2 are expected to lyse tumor cells that overexpress HER2 and also express HLA-A*02:01. These T cells recognize the peptide from residues 369–377 with the sequence KIFGSLAFL, which is also available in our online inventory.



Because T cells are sensitive to the amount of antigen expressed and presented by HLA, it will be interesting to see which tumor cells can be killed and which will be resistant to lysis by these T cells. Let us know what you find in your lab!

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