News – 15 years of Targos Advance

Targos News

15 years of Targos Advance Expert Training

a sustainable approach to international standardization
of predictive biomarker testing.

Having gained experience in more than 600 clinical trials, Targos shares its experience in biomarker testing and evaluation with the international pathology community.

Targos has supported the approval trials for Herceptin in Breast Cancer (HERA) and Gastric Cancer (TOGA) as central lab and reference pathology with the testing of about 18.000 samples from hundreds of clinical centers .

Many sources of interobserver and interlaboratory discrepancies were detected in the Her2 based patient selection, even with high quality IVD reagents for IHC and ISH. These findings triggered the need to train a standardized use and evaluation of Her2 companion diagnostic tests to the diagnostic community.

Since 2005 the introduction of standardized reagents and automated staining platforms by the diagnostic industry and the Targos Advance Expert Training courses, flanked by ring studies and publications, helped to reduce Her2 testing discrepancies to a minimum.

Our experienced pathology faculty, led by Prof. Josef Rüschoff, Prof. Bharat Jasani and Prof. Sunil Badve, shared their knowledge and created a highly interactive Her2 community by training around 2.500 international pathologists in the interpretation of FDA approved testing guidelines (Ref 1-5).

With the advent of immune therapies in 2012, the focus of training needed to be shifted to other biomarkers and technologies. Meanwhile, more than 1.500 pathologists in around 200 course events were trained in the evaluation of the various PD-L1 diagnostic tests for an increasing number of tumor indications and therapies targeting the interaction of PD-1 and its ligand PD-L1 (Ref 6,7).

The format of the training courses evolved over the years. Initially, training groups of 10-15 pathologists gathered around the trainer at a multihead microscope. Passionately discussing critical cases, staining artefacts and troubleshooting, followed by applying the newly trained knowledge in independent evaluation sessions to prove proficiency in scoring a new biomarker. Taking the Advance courses to other continents required the discussion of digital slides on new training platforms, such as PathXL. Meanwhile, the professional Advance organization team also has devised a virtual training in a webinar format, which became a successful interactive alternative during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemia with its travel restrictions.

Whatever the training content or the training format was, the international pathologists appreciated the essential and pragmatic proficiency courses with the international Targos trainer faculty. This greatly professional team of trainers is assembled from prime institutions in Europe, USA, Brazil and Taiwan and enjoyed meeting peers in a creative training environment.

Global Biomarker Training Activities of Targos Advance

 2.500+ pathologists trained globally in onsite sessions

 Corporate headquarter of Targos in Kassel Germany

 1.500+ pathologists have been trained at Targos in Kassel

In 2020, the Targos Advance team will host around 75 training global courses together with our partners from pharmaceutical and diagnostic industry in our sustainable approach for international biomarker standardization.

Targos Advance Faculty Meeting at Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe in Kassel

Targos Advance Team at Kassel Bergpark
From left to right: Shir-Wa Ueng, Sandra Schöniger, Paolo Nuciforo, Thomas Henkel, Corrado D’Arrigo, Venancio Alves (front) & Rolf Diezko (back), Charuhas Deshpande, George Kumar, Josef Rüschoff, Romil Saxena and Sunil Badve (missing on picture Bharat Jasani, Hans-Ulrich Schildhaus, Ralf Huss, Fernando Soares, Holger Moch, Edmund Cheesman).
We hope to meet you soon in one of the upcoming courses and to welcome you in the global Targos Advance training community.

Prof. Dr. Bharat Jasani

Director of Pathology

Dr. Thomas Henkel

Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder

Prof. Dr. Josef Rüschoff

Chief Medical Officer & Co-Founder

Dr. Gudrun Bänfer

Head Targos Advance Training & Consulting


  1. Trastuzumab after adjuvant chemotherapy in HER2-positive breast cancer. Piccart-Gebhart MJ  for  Herceptin Adjuvant (HERA) Trial Study Team. N Engl J Med. 2005 Oct 20;353(16):1659-72. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa052306.
  2. Impact of updated HER2 testing guidelines in breast cancer–re-evaluation of HERA trial fluorescence in situ hybridization data. Stoss OC, Scheel A, Nagelmeier I, Schildhaus HU, Henkel T, Viale G, Jasani B, Untch M, Rüschoff J. Mod Pathol. 2015 Dec;28(12):1528-34. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2015.112.
  3. Central HER2 IHC and FISH analysis in a trastuzumab (Herceptin) phase II monotherapy study: assessment of test sensitivity and impact of chromosome 17 polysomy. Hofmann M, et al., J Clin Pathol. 2008 Jan;61(1):89-94
  4. Trastuzumab in combination with chemotherapy versus chemotherapy alone for treatment of HER2-positive advanced gastric or gastro-oesophageal junction cancer (ToGA): a phase 3, open-label, randomised controlled trial.Bang YJ et al. for ToGA Trial Investigators. Lancet. 2010 Aug 28;376(9742):687-97. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)61121-X,
  5. HER2 testing in gastric cancer: a practical approach. Rüschoff J, Hanna W, Bilous M, Hofmann M, Osamura RY, Penault-Llorca F, van de Vijver M, Viale G. Mod Pathol. 2012 May;25(5):637-50. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2011.198.
  6. Interlaboratory-concordance of PD-L1 immunohistochemistry for non-small cell lung cancer. Scheel AH et al., Histopathol. 2018; 72(3):449-59.
  7. Harmonized PD-L1 immunohistochemistry for pulmonary squamous-cell and adenocarcinomas. Scheel AH et al., Mod Pathol. 2016; 29(10):1165-72. Jasani, B., Bänfer, G., Fish, R. et al. Evaluation of an online training tool for scoring programmed cell death ligand-1 (PD-L1) diagnostic tests for lung cancer. Diagn Pathol 15, 37 (2020).