Validation of tissue microarrays using p53 immunohistochemical studies of squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx

Mod Pathol. 2003 Dec;16(12):1181-8. doi: 10.1097/01.MP.0000097284.40421.D6.


Tissue microarrays are a powerful new tissue-conserving technology in the study of cancer, allowing simultaneous study of a large number of tumor specimens. We sought to ascertain the utility of tissue microarrays in head and neck cancer pathology using squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx as a model system. Whole-specimen slides from 44 different laryngeal squamous cell carcinomas were stained for p53 expression. Microarrays were then generated by taking six 0.6-mm core biopsies from each of the 44 specimens. The whole sections and the microarrays were independently scored for p53 expression. Twenty-three (53%) of the 44 tumor specimens were positive for p53. Forty-four of the 264 core biopsies (17%) were not given a score because of the lack of tumor cells. Seventy-eight percent of the individual discs on the microarray had scores in agreement with those of the whole-section slides. Among biopsy discs with tumor cells present, 94.5% were in agreement with the whole-section slide. The average probability that four randomly chosen biopsy discs, considered together, would accurately identify the presence of p53 staining in a whole section was 0.97 (95% CI.93-1.0). We conclude that tissue microarrays for squamous cell carcinomas can accurately represent immunohistochemical results of whole-slide specimens when four or more samples are used. Tissue microarrays are an important technique that may be applied to immunohistochemical studies of head and neck cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biopsy / methods
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Larynx / chemistry
  • Larynx / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / analysis*


  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53