AIMS: To evaluate the use of methyl methacrylate resin as an embedding medium for undecalcified bone marrow trephine biopsy specimens. METHODS: About 2500 undecalcified bone marrow trephine biopsy specimens were processed, and embedded in methyl methacrylate resin. Semithin sections (2-3 microns) were stained by routine tinctorial and immunocytochemical staining methods with a wide range of antibodies using a standard streptavidin biotin horseradish peroxidase technique. Different antigen retrieval pretreatments were evaluated. RESULTS: Bone marrow trephine biopsy specimens are embedded routinely in methyl methacrylate at the Haematological Malignancy Diagnostic Service at The Leeds General Infirmary. Over 50 different primary antibodies are in current use; for the majority of these, microwave antigen retrieval or trypsin digestion, or both, is either essential or greatly enhances the results. CONCLUSIONS: Embedding bone marrow trephine biopsy specimens in methyl methacrylate resin retains morphology and permits reliable, high quality immunocytochemistry. This is particularly desirable for the demonstration of neoplastic cells in regenerative marrow after chemotherapy, and in the detection of residual disease after treatment. The use of methyl methacrylate for routine use on bone marrow trephine biopsy specimens is advocated.
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