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A Comparison of Immunohistochemical Stain Quality in Conventional and Rapid Microwave Processed Tissues

Lyska L. Emerson MD, Sheryl R. Tripp MT(ASCP), QIHC(ASCP), Bradley C. Baird MS, MStat, Lester J. Layfield MD, L. Ralph Rohr MD
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1309/GN6QCBMLLEATLK2M 176-183 First published online: 1 February 2006


Same-day turnaround of pathology specimens is desirable in this era of managed care, and rapid microwave tissue processing produces histologic features of a quality equivalent to overnight processing. We studied whether microwave-assisted rapid tissue processing adversely affects the quality of immunohistochemical staining. We selected 30 specimens (20 neoplastic and 10 nonneoplastic) from our routine surgical pathology workload. Paired large tissue blocks were made from each specimen type, one for microwave-assisted rapid processing and one for conventional processing. Two microarrays of 60 punches each were made from the donor blocks. The microarray blocks were examined for intensity and extent of staining by 44 commonly used antibodies. Slides were reviewed independently by 2 pathologists blinded to the type of processing used. In 5,280 tissue punches examined, we found a high degree of concordance in quality, as measured by intensity and extent of immunohistochemical staining, between microwave and routinely processed tissues. Our study demonstrates that quality of immunohistochemical staining is similar between rapid microwave and conventional processing. The potential need for immunohistochemical analysis is not a contraindication for microwave-assisted rapid tissue processing.

Key Words:
  • Microwave
  • Tissue processing
  • Immunohistochemistry