Modern Immunohistochemistry in Targeted Therapy

  • Allen M. Gown
Reference work entry


Immunohistochemistry is the application of antibodies with predefined specificities to tissue sections, coupled with the use of highly sensitive detection systems permitting visualization of the antibody target. While traditionally immunohistochemistry has been employed to identify cell type-specific proteins which can reveal the direction of differentiation of tumors, more recently immunohistochemistry has been employed as “companion diagnostics” to identify the presence or absence, or to quantify the amount, of targets of various targeted therapies for cancer. These include the estrogen (and progesterone) receptors in breast cancer, the target of agents such as tamoxifen; the HER2 transmembrane receptor expressed by a subset of breast (and other) cancers, the target of the humanized monoclonal antibody, trastuzumab; the mutated c-kit transmembrane receptor of gastrointestinal stromal tumors, the target of imatinib; and CD20, the molecule expressed by B cells and B cell malignancies, the target of the humanized monoclonal antibody, rituximab. The use and limitations of immunohistochemistry to predict response to these novel reagents is reviewed.


Progesterone Receptor Core Needle Biopsy HER2 Overexpression Cold Ischemia Time Epitope Retrieval 
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Further Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allen M. Gown
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.PhenoPath LaboratoriesSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of PathologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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