Appraisal of the comparative utility of immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy in the diagnosis of childhood round cell tumors

Gary W. Mierau, P. J. Berry, Richelle L. Malott, Douglas A. Weeks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations


To provide an objective assessment of the comparative utility of fluorescence- and peroxidase-based immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy, an observer blinded study was conducted under realistic study conditions utilizing a large sampling of poorly differentiated pediatric round cell tumors. Working independently, using a single ancillary technique of particular expertise, each of three investigators attempted to render a specific diagnosis with regard to 50 diagnostically challenging tumors. The results were compared against the subsequent 'file diagnosis' established by consensus with all relevant information made available. A grading scheme was applied wherein points were awarded based on the accuracy and confidence of diagnosis. A comparative efficiency rating, expressed as a percentage, was formulated by dividing the number of points awarded each technique by the total number of points theoretically available. Electron microscopy proved superior overall, with an efficiency rating of 89%. Immunoperoxidase and immunofluorescence studies yielded efficiency ratings of 71 and 61%, respectively. Used in combination, the techniques achieved an efficiency rating of 95%. Application of these ancillary techniques resulted in a revision of the provisional diagnosis in 11 of 50 cases, and left only two cases without a firm specific diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-517
Number of pages11
JournalUltrastructural Pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996



  • Childhood
  • Comparative study
  • Electron microscopy
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Structural Biology

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