Development and validation of a sensitive immunohistochemical oestrogen receptor assay for use on archival breast cancer tissue
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In a preliminary paper (Teasdale et al. 1987) comparing the oestrogen receptor (ER) content of breast cancers by the biochemical dextran coated charcoal (DCC) method and by two histochemical methods, peroxidase immunocytochemistry (ERICA) and immunogold-silver staining (IGSS), it was indicated that ERICA is more sensitive than DCC and that IGSS is as specific as ERICA but less sensitive. This paper describes the comparison of the above three assay methods with two other biochemical methods, iso-electric focusing (IEF) and an enzyme immuno-assay (EIA) on a larger number of cancers. All methods gave statistically comparable results except that IGSS remained less sensitive than the rest. Various modifications to IGSS showed that an immunogold streptavidin enhancement method (IG-SAM) produced sensitivity and specificity equal to that of ERICA. Since IGSS and its modifications are the only methods which can be used on archival paraffin-embedded cancers and IG-SAM gives results highly comparable to ERICA, retrospective studies can be performed on patients whose outcome and response to various treatments are known. Most recent studies have shown that ER positive results can be obtained from 10-year-old paraffin blocks.
KeywordsBreast Cancer Oestrogen Receptor Paraffin Charcoal Dextran
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