Melanin Bleaching With Warm Hydrogen Peroxide and Integrated Immunohistochemical Analysis: An Automated Platform

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Abstract

Objective. Diagnosing melanocytic lesions is among the most challenging problems in the practice of pathology. The difficulty of physically masking melanin pigment and the similarity of its color to commonly used chromogens often complicate examination of the cytomorphology and immunohistochemical staining results for tumor cells. Melanin bleach can be very helpful for histopathological diagnosis of heavily pigmented melanocytic lesions. Although various depigmentation methods have been reported, no standardized methods have been developed. This study developed a fully automated platform that incorporates hydrogen peroxide–based melanin depigmentation in an automated immunohistochemical analysis. Methods and Materials. The utility of the method was tested in 1 cell block of malignant melanoma cells in pleural effusion, 10 ocular melanoma tissue samples, and 10 cutaneous melanoma tissue samples. Our results demonstrated that the proposed method, which can be performed in only 3 hours, effectively preserves cell cytomorphology and immunoreactivity. Results. The method is particularly effective for removing melanin pigment to facilitate histopathological examination of cytomorphology and for obtaining an unmasked tissue section for immunohistochemical analysis.

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