Usefulness of silver intensification of immunostaining for cytologic diagnosis of primary melanoma of the female genital organs

Acta Cytol. 2002 Nov-Dec;46(6):1075-80. doi: 10.1159/000327110.


Objective: To improve the procedure for diagnosing vaginal melanoma with cytopathologic analysis of HMB-45.

Study design: The study examined silver intensification of immunostaining of HMB-45 in nine cases of primary melanoma of the vagina and vulva using archival Papanicolaou-stained smears.

Results: All nine samples showed positive staining for HMB-45. Five cases showed intensive staining, two moderate and two weak. The positive staining was black in the cytoplasm of melanoma cells but was detected in neither the background nor normal squamous cells. Though destaining of Papanicolaou stain was not performed before immunostaining, the positivity of immunostaining was easily judged.

Conclusion: After morphologic observation, immunocytochemical study of HMB-45 is possible even though time has passed since the cytologic specimen was obtained. When there is a suspicion of amelanotic melanoma or scantily pigmented melanoma of the vagina and vulva, cytogenesis with HMB-45 is helpful, especially because it involves little invasion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Melanoma, Amelanotic / pathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Papanicolaou Test
  • Silver Staining / methods*
  • Vaginal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Vaginal Smears
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / pathology*