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Cytopathology. 2011 Aug;22(4):215-29. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2303.2011.00887.x.

Immunocytochemistry: an indispensable technique in routine cytology.

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Department of Pathology and Cytology, Karolinska University Hospital Solna, Stockholm, Sweden.


Immunocytology is today accepted as an indispensable adjunct to cytomorphology. It has led to a dramatic increase in diagnostic accuracy and also allowed the identification of markers both for prognosis and targeted therapies. Most commercially available antibodies will perform in a reproducible and reliable way provided that the cytological specimen has been prepared and fixed properly. In this review various aspects of immunocytochemistry such as preparation of cytological specimens, fixation and choice of antibodies will be discussed. The specificity of the most commonly used antibodies is summarized and staining panels for various tumours are suggested. In addition, the use of markers for targeted therapy and theranostics is discussed, as well as a brief section on the identification of infectious agents.

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