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Simultaneous imaging of membrane antigen and the corresponding chromosomal locus in pathology archives


Haruhiko Sugimura, MD, PhD, Department of Pathology, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, 1-20-1 Handayama, Hamamatsu 431-3192, Japan. Email:


A new procedure for the simultaneous staining of membranous antigens, such as tyrosine kinase-type cell surface receptor HER2 (c-erbB2), and the corresponding chromosome (chromosome 17 for c-erbB2) in the same cell for use in examining pathology archives is presented. A multistep procedure involving microwave-assisted fluorescence in situ hybridization and immunofluorescence yielded cell images having c-erbB2 on the membrane and genomic signals from the chromosome 17 centromere and the c-erbB2 locus. Furthermore, a combination of microwave-assisted chromogenic in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry found colorized signals from both chromosome 17 centromere in the nuclei and c-erbB2 on the membranes of individual cells. Quantitative image analysis further confirmed the presence of a significantly stronger c-erbB2 immunoreactivity on cells containing three or more signals from chromosome 17 than from those with less than three signals. It was possible to extend the constellation of cell surface markers and corresponding chromosomes or locus-specific makers to several other genes including CDH1. In this case, the disappearances of CDH1 expression, a CDH1 locus signal, and a centromere enumeration probe (CEP) 16 signal were simultaneously demonstrated in the less-adhesive tumor cells. Thus, it is believed that this procedure might pave the way for exploiting pathology archives for the genotype–phenotype analysis of individual cells.