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Immunohistochemical Workup of Metastatic Carcinoma of Unknown Primary

Dabbs, David J. MD; Silverman, Jan F. MD

Pathology Case Reviews:
Case Review

The pathologic work-up of patients with metestatic carcinoma of unknown primary can be a diagnostic challenge. Immunohistochemistry often plays a pivotal role in determining the cell lineage as well as the primary site of the malignancy. A variety of cells lineage, site specific associated antibodies and differential cytokeratins are now available as part of the armamentarium of the pathologist for the work-up of these cases. An algorithmic approach is recommended as well as the importance of interpreting the immunohistochemical results in the context of the clinical and other conventional morphologic parameters in order to establish a correct diagnosis to guide appropriate management and assess prognosis.

Author Information

From St. Agnes Healthcare, Department of Pathology, Baltimore, MD; Hahnemann University School of Medicine; and Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Jan F. Silverman, MD, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Allegheny General Hospital, 320 East North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15212. E-mail:

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.