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CytoJournal 2004,  1:2

Optimization of an immunostaining protocol for the rapid intraoperative evaluation of melanoma sentinel lymph node imprint smears with the 'MCW melanoma cocktail'

1 Department of Pathology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA
2 Department of Plastic Surgery, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA

Correspondence Address:
Vinod B Shidham
Department of Pathology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.1186/1742-6413-1-2

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Background: In the management of cutaneous melanoma, it is desirable to complete the regional lymphadenectomy during the initial surgical procedure for wide excision of biopsy site and sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy. In this study, we optimized and evaluated a rapid 17 minutes immunostaining protocol. The discriminatory immunostaining pattern associated with the 'MCW Melanoma Cocktail' (mixture of Melan- A, MART- 1, and tyrosinase) facilitated the feasibility of intraoperative evaluation of imprint smears of SLNs for melanoma metastases. Methods: Imprint smears of 51 lymph nodes from 25 cases (48 SLNs and 3 non-SLNs, 1 to 4 SLNs/case) of cutaneous melanoma were evaluated. Results: Sixteen percent, 8/51 lymph nodes (28%, 7/25 cases) were positive for melanoma metastases in immunostained permanent sections with the 'MCW melanoma cocktail'. All of these melanoma metastases, except 1 SLN from 1 case, were also detected in rapidly immunostained wet-fixed and air-dried smears (rehydrated in saline and postfixed in alcoholic formalin). The cytomorphology was superior in air-dried smears, which were rehydrated in saline and postfixed in alcoholic formalin. Wet-fixed smears frequently showed air-drying artifacts, which lead to the focal loss of immunostaining. None of the 5 SLNs from 5 cases exhibiting capsular nevi showed a false positive result with immunostained imprint smears. Conclusions: Melanoma metastases can be detected intraoperatively in both air-dried smears and wet-fixed smears immunostained with the MCW Melanoma cocktail. Air-dried smears rehydrated in saline and postfixed in alcoholic formalin provide superior results and many practical benefits.


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