How-To: Protocol for ICC and ISH on Cytological Smears

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Establishing a protocol for immunocytochemical staining and chromogenic in situ hybridization of Giemsa and Diff-Quick prestained cytological smears

Elsa Beraki, Thale Kristin Olsen, Torill Sauer

CytoJournal 2012 9(1):8-8

Background: Protocols for immunocytochemical staining (ICC) and in situ hybridization (ISH) of air-dried Diff-Quick or May-Grunwald Giemsa (MGG)-stained smears have been difficult to establish. An increasing need to be able to use prestained slides for ICC and ISH in specific cases led to this study, aiming at finding a robust protocol for both methods.

Materials and Methods: The material consisted of MGG- and Diff-Quick-stained smears. After diagnosis, one to two diagnostic smears were stored in the department. Any additional smear(s) containing diagnostic material were used for this study. The majority were fine needle aspirates (FNAC) from the breast, comprising materials from fibroadenomas, fibrocystic disease, and carcinomas. A few were metastatic lesions (carcinomas and malignant melanomas). There were 64 prestained smears. Ten smears were Diff-Quick stained, and 54 were MGG stained. The antibodies used for testing ICC were Ki-67, ER, and PgR, CK MNF116 (pancytokeratin) and E-cadherin. HER-2 Dual SISH was used to test ISH. Citrate, TRS, and TE buffers at pH6 and pH9 were tested, as well as, different heating times, microwave powers and antibody concentrations. The ICC was done on the Dako Autostainer (Dako®, Glostrup, Denmark), and HER-2 Dual SISH was done on the Ventana XT-machine (Ventana / Roche® , Strasbourg, France).

Results: Optimal results were obtained with the TE buffer at pH 9, for both ICC and ISH. Antibody concentrations generally had to be higher than in the immunohistochemistry (IHC). The optimal microwave heat treatment included an initial high power boiling followed by low power boiling. No post fixation was necessary for ICC, whereas, 20 minutes post fixation in formalin (4%) was necessary for ISH.

Conclusions: Microwave heat treatment, with initial boiling at high power followed by boiling at low power and TE buffer at pH 9 were the key steps in the procedure. Antibody concentrations has to be adapted for each ICC marker. Post fixation in formalin is necessary for ISH.
(Articles : CytoJournal as on March 31, 2012)


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About Jana Sullinger

GYN Pathologist and Cytopathologist. Special interest in quality assessment and use of online social media in sharing educational information about cytology and quality.

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  1. [...] I was reading the abstract about a protocol for ICC and ISH on cytologic smears that I recently posted, I was curious whether there were some additional articles regarding HER-2 staining specifically [...]

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