PURPOSE: The optimal method to assess human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) status remains highly controversial. Before reporting patient HER2 results, American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)/College of American Pathologists (CAP) guidelines mandate that laboratories demonstrate >/= 95% concordance to another approved laboratory or methodology. Here, we compare central laboratory HER2 assessed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) using Oncotype DX in lymph node-negative, chemotherapy-untreated patients from a large Kaiser Permanente case-control study. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Breast cancer specimens from the Kaiser-Genomic Health study were examined. Central FISH assessment of HER2 amplification and polysomy 17 was conducted by PhenoPath Laboratories (ratios > 2.2, 1.8 to 2.2, and < 1.8 define HER2 positive, HER2 equivocal, and HER2 negative, respectively). HER2 expression by RT-PCR was conducted using Oncotype DX by Genomic Health (normalized expression units >/= 11.5, 10.7 to < 11.5, and < 10.7 define HER2 positive, HER2 equivocal, and HER2 negative, respectively). Concordance analyses followed ASCO/CAP guidelines. RESULTS: HER2 concordance by central FISH and central RT-PCR was 97% (95% CI, 96% to 99%). Twelve percent (67 of 568 patients) and 11% (60 of 568 patients) of patients were HER2 positive by RT-PCR and FISH, respectively. HER2-positive patients had increased odds of dying from breast cancer compared with HER2-negative patients. Polysomy 17 was demonstrated in 12.5% of all patients and 33% of FISH-positive patients. Nineteen of 20 FISH-positive patients with polysomy 17 were also RT-PCR HER2 positive. Although not statistically significantly different, HER2-positive/polysomy 17 patients tended to have the worst prognosis, followed by HER2-positive/eusomic, HER2-negative/polysomy 17, and HER2-negative/eusomic patients. CONCLUSION: There is a high degree of concordance between central FISH and quantitative RT-PCR using Oncotype DX for HER2 status, and the assay warrants additional study in a trastuzumab-treated population.