Comparison of p53 immunoreactivity in fresh-cut versus stored slides with and without microwave heating

Hyung Ju C. Shin, Shyla K. Kalapurakal, J. Jack Lee, Jae Y. Ro, Waun K. Hong, Jin S. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Because of technical problems in immunohistochemical staining of archival material, antigens can be masked or lost. A recent study reported' diminished p53 immunoreactivity in slides that had been sectioned from parafinn-embedded tissue blocks and stored at room temperature, To investigate this issue, we performed immunohistochemical staining with use of a p53 monoclonal antibody (DO7) in 13 head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and 13 non-small-cell lung carcinomas. The freshcut and stored slides were simultaneously stained with and without the use of a microwave heating (MWH) technique, and we compared the results of p53 immunostaining. The stored slides were sectioned from paraffin blocks 4 to 25 years old and kept at room temperature for 6 to 48 months. The slides were blindly evaluated for percentage of positivity and staining intensity. Twelve HNSCCs and six lung carcinomas showed p53 positivity. The stored slides showed a considerable decrease in staining intensity (P = 0.039), compared with freshcut slides. The difference in the percentage of positivity between the stored and fresh-cut slides was statistically significant, but the mean value of the difference was only 3.6%, which might not be meaningful for semiquantitation of immunostaining. MWH greatly enhanced staining intensity and percentage of positivity for both stored and fresh-cut slides. When MWH was applied, no significant difference in staining intensity (P = 0.063) was detected in fresh-cut versus stored slides, but the difference in the percentage of positivity was statistically significant (mean value, 3.1%). Individual cases showed a consistent p53 status regardless of the MWH treatment, storage duration, or age of the blocks. This study demonstrated a considerable decrease in p53 immunoreactivity in stored slides. Because the MWH successfully retrieved the p53 antigen without causing a change in p53 status, stored slides combined with an MWH antigen retrieval technique in a metal-containing solution should provide p53 immunostaining results similar to those from fresh-cut slides, as long as staining intensity is not a sole study parameter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-230
Number of pages7
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1997


  • Antigen retrieval
  • Fresh-cut slides
  • Microwave heating
  • p53 immunoreactivity
  • Stored slides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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