Tumours of uncertain tissue of origin were investigated by immunohistochemistry on formalin fixed paraffin embedded sections. Two antibodies--PD7/26, an anti common leucocyte antigen, and CAM5.2, an anticytokeratin--recognised most lymphomas and carcinomas, respectively: 88% of these tumours were identified by the two antibodies alone. These antibodies permitted the separation of the cases into groups: positive with CAM5.2, positive with PD7/26, and a third comprising those negative with both. The negative group contained other tumours and a small number of carcinomas and lymphomas; many of the lymphomas were, apparently, of histiocytic origin. Comparison of CAM5.2 with other epithelial markers showed that it was the most effective. Some further classification of the tumours was carried out with a panel of organ and cell specific antibodies: mesotheliomas were recognised by their pattern of reactivity with epithelial markers. Overall, the tumour type was determined in 90% of cases. Immunohistochemistry performed as described can be a potent aid to the diagnostic histopathology of tumours.
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