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Validation of tissue microarray technology in malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours


Background: It has been suggested that the donor tissue cores used in tissue microarrays (TMAs) may not be representative of the whole tissue section.

Aim: To validate the use of TMA technology in the study of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours (MPNSTs).

Methods: A TMA was constructed containing five independent core biopsy samples of 14 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded MPNSTs. The immunohistochemical (IHC) results of the five cores from the same tissue block on TMA were compared with readings from whole sections using two antibodies: anti-Ki-67 and anti-S-100. Digital image analysis was performed to calculate the percentage of positive stain areas. The agreement between IHC results obtained with TMA cores and whole sections was assessed using the κ statistic.

Results: There was good to very good agreement between IHC results for whole and TMA sections from MPNSTs. In relation to S-100, very good agreement (92% agreement; κ = 0.77) was observed using a minimum of four TMA cores. Staining results for Ki-67 from at least four readable TMA cores were the same as those for the whole section in 86% of cases, with good agreement, using weighted κ statistics (κ = 0.63).

Conclusions: This study indicates that the TMA technique can be used in the IHC study of MPNSTs, even with the use of heterogeneous markers such as S-100 protein.

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