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Ann Diagn Pathol. 2010 Aug;14(4):256-9. doi: 10.1016/j.anndiagpath.2010.05.002.

The role of routine immunohistochemistry for Helicobacter pylori in gastric biopsy.

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Department of Pathology, Louisiana State University Health Science Center, Shreveport, LA 71130, USA.


Helicobacter pylori infection is associated with gastritis, gastric ulcer, gastric adenocarcinoma, and mucosal associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma. Documenting the presence of H pylori in a gastric biopsy is essential for appropriate patient care. Several special stains and immunohistochemistry (IHC) stain for H pylori are available, and many laboratories are routinely using one of them. We introduced routine IHC for H pylori about a year ago, and this study aims to investigate the value of this protocol. A total of 224 patients qualified for the study criteria during this period. The diagnoses were chronic active gastritis (68), chronic gastritis (76), no pathologic abnormality (50), reactive gastropathy (24), and polyps (6). Fifty-four cases were positive for H pylori on IHC, including 50 chronic active gastritis and 4 chronic gastritis. The IHC positive rate was 73.5% (50/68) in chronic active gastritis, 5.3% (4/76) in chronic gastritis, and 0% (0/80) in other diagnoses. The sensitivity/specificity of finding H pylori by blindly reviewing hematoxylin and eosin slides was 100%/100%, 100%/100%, 95%/100%, and 100%/100% from the 4 authors. Our results showed that many gastric biopsies (35.7%, 80/224) had no pathologic abnormality or reactive gastropathy and did not need a routine IHC for H pylori. Hematoxylin and eosin slide review had a very good sensitivity and specificity with all levels of observers. In summary, IHC for H pylori should not be routinely used, especially during these economically challenging times. Immunohistochemistry should be reserved for unexplained gastritis and previously treated patients with likely low organism density.

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