Quality control in diagnostic immunohistochemistry: integrated on-slide positive controls

A. Bragoni, A. Gambella, S. Pigozzi, M. Grigolini, R. Fiocca, L. Mastracci, F. Grillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Standardization in immunohistochemistry is a priority in modern pathology and requires strict quality control. Cost containment has also become fundamental and auditing of all procedures must take into account both these principles. Positive controls must be routinely performed so that their positivity guarantees the appropriateness of the immunohistochemical procedure. The aim of this study is to develop a low cost (utilizing a punch biopsy—PB—tool) procedure to construct positive controls which can be integrated in the patient’s tissue slide. Sixteen frequently used control blocks were selected and multiple cylindrical samples were obtained using a 5-mm diameter punch biopsy tool, separately re-embedding them in single blocks. For each diagnostic immunoreaction requiring a positive control, an integrated PB-control section (cut from the appropriate PB-control block) was added to the top right corner of the diagnostic slide before immunostaining. This integrated control technique permitted a saving of 4.75% in total direct lab costs and proved to be technically feasible and reliable. Our proposal is easy to perform and within the reach of all pathology labs, requires easily available tools, its application costs is less than using external paired controls and ensures that a specific control for each slide is always available.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-573
Number of pages5
JournalHistochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2017


  • Cost-saving
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Positive controls
  • Quality assurance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Histology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Quality control in diagnostic immunohistochemistry: integrated on-slide positive controls'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this