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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Background: 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. Methods: 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. Results: Immunohistochemistry staining of laminin-332γ is preserved in presence of heat artifact. Conclusion: This study supports use of immunohistochemistry to assess margins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1401-1406
Number of pages6
JournalHead & Neck
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016


  • Biomarkers
  • CO2 laser
  • Glottis squamous cell carcinoma
  • Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
  • Laminin-332γ2
  • Laser artifact
  • Tissue artifact

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