Surgical margins in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma: Effect of heat artifact on immunohistochemistry as a future tool for assessment

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Margins in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) are determined by morphological changes assessed via hematoxylin-eosin staining. Physiological changes may not be detected by this technique. The purpose of this study was to determine if a protein biomarker, laminin-332γ2, overexpressed in cancer cells at the invasive front in HNSCC, remains unaffected by heat produced during resection, supporting a role for immunohistochemistry assessment of margins.


Archived tissue blocks from glottic squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) resected by CO2 laser likely to contain both cancer cells and artifact were identified; 129-paired slides were obtained. One slide of each pair was stained with hematoxylin-eosin; the second stained for laminin-332γ2. The presence of cancer cells, artifact, and positive laminin-332γ2 staining was recorded. Twenty-seven pairs met the inclusion criteria.


Immunohistochemistry staining of laminin-332γ is preserved in presence of heat artifact.


This study supports use of immunohistochemistry to assess margins. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck38: 1401–1406, 2016

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