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Am J Clin Pathol. 2012 May;137(5):733-8. doi: 10.1309/AJCP8DGTAVG7MBMT.

Helicobacter pylori: to stain or not to stain?

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Wake Forest Baptist Health, Winston-Salem, NC 27103, USA.


We performed a retrospective study to investigate the usefulness of immunohistochemical stains for the diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori (HP). We reviewed 200 consecutive gastric biopsy specimens, as well as immunohistochemical stains for HP. Of the biopsy specimens, 32 were positive for HP by immunohistochemical staining; of those, HP was seen on H&E stains in 29 cases (91%). The number of high-power fields required to detect HP on H&E-stained slides ranged from 1 to 25 (mean, 5.75). Combined significant (2+ or 3+) acute and chronic inflammation had a specificity of 98% and a negative predictive value of 97%. Our results show that, in our institution, HP can be seen relatively easily with H&E staining in the majority of cases; however, a small number of cases with significant inflammation can be missed if stains are not used.

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