Human pathology

Rapid immunohistochemistry of sentinel lymph nodes for metastatic melanoma.

PMID 14506642


Sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy is performed on patients with malignant melanoma (MM) to assess the need for selective complete lymphadenectomy. Melanoma metastasis to regional lymph nodes is an important prognostic indicator in patients with MM. This study assesses the sensitivity and specificity of rapid immunohistochemistry (RIHC) in intraoperative delineation of melanoma metastasis to SLN. RIHC for S-100 protein, HMB45, and a melanoma marker cocktail (melan A, HMB45, and tyrosinase) was performed on 71 SLNs obtained from 28 patients with MM. Frozen sections (6 micro thick) on plus slides were fixed for 2 to 3 minutes in cold acetone and then stored at -70 degrees C. The EnVision kit (Dako, Carpinteria, CA) for rapid immunohistochemistry (RIHC) on frozen tissue sections was used, and the staining technique took 19 minutes. Together with preparation of the frozen sections and fixation in acetone, immunostained slides were available in approximately 25 minutes. Of the 71 SNLs examined, 7 showed melanoma metastasis in permanent sections. RIHC of frozen sections detected metastatic melanoma in 6 SLNs, with a sensitivity of 86% for HMB45 and 71% for S-100 protein and the melanoma cocktail and a specificity of 97% for HMB45 and 100% for S-100 and the melanoma cocktail. We conclude that RIHC for HMB45, S-100 protein, and the melanoma cocktail may help detect melanoma metastasis in SLN intraoperatively, leading to total lymph node dissection and obviating the need for 2 surgical procedures. Section folds and background stain can make interpretation difficult. Intraoperative time constraints require a more rapid technique. A recent consensus group has discouraged frozen-section examination of SLN.