Breast Pathology and Immunohistochemistry

Immunohistochemistry is a special staining process performed on fresh or frozen breast cancer tissue removed during biopsy. IHC is used to show whether or not the cancer cells have HER2 receptors and/or hormone receptors on their surface. This information plays a critical role in treatment planning. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) is used to characterize intracellular proteins or various cell surfaces in all tissues. Individual markers, or more often panels of various marker proteins, can be used to characterize various tumor subtypes, confirm tissue of origin, distinguish metastatic from primary tumor, and provide additional information which may be important for prognosis, predicting response to therapy, or evaluating residual tumor post-treatment. There is a growing list of available antibodies, which contribute to the broader utility of immunohistochemistry for solving diagnostic problems or for determining prognosis and response to therapy in breast pathology.

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