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Applications of Immunohistochemistry to Endocrine Pathology

Higgins, Sara E., MD; Barletta, Justine A., MD

doi: 10.1097/PAP.0000000000000209
Review Articles

The role of immunohistochemistry (IHC) in endocrine pathology is similar to that in other organ systems in that it can aid in the subclassification of tumors within an organ, confirm site of primary in metastatic disease, provide prognostic information, identify underlying genetic alterations, and predict response to treatment. Although most endocrine tumors do not require IHC to render a diagnosis, there are certain scenarios in which IHC can be extremely helpful. For example, in thyroid, IHC can be used to support tumor dedifferentiation, in the adrenal it can aid in the diagnosis of low-grade adrenocortical carcinomas, and in paragangliomas it can help identify tumors arising as part of an inherited tumor syndrome. This review will focus on the applications of IHC in tumors of the thyroid, parathyroids, adrenals, and paraganglia in adults.

Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Reprints: Justine A. Barletta, MD, Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115 (e-mail:

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