Two mitosis-specific antibodies, MPM-2 and phospho-histone H3 (Ser28), allow rapid and precise determination of mitotic activity

Am J Surg Pathol. 2006 Jan;30(1):83-9. doi: 10.1097/01.pas.0000183572.94140.43.


Mitotic figure (MF) counting is important in the evaluation of many tumor types. Inadequate fixation, crush artefacts, the presence of many apoptoses, or the rarity of MFs in a given lesion can make the determination of the mitotic index a very time-consuming or even impossible task, especially for novices. We evaluated the potential of the two commercially available mitotic markers MPM-2 and Phospho-Histone H3 Ser28 (PHH3) for improving mitotic counting. Formalin-fixed tissue of 1 lymphoma, 19 epithelial, 25 mesenchymal, and 10 melanocytic tumors was immunohistochemically stained with both antibodies. Mitotic counts of each tumor sample were determined by a pathologist and three residents in the hematoxylin and eosin and in both immunohistochemical stainings. Because of the higher sensitivity of the immunohistochemical stainings for MFs, average mitotic counts per 10 HPF were higher with MPM-2 (11.0) and PHH3 (10.1) than with hematoxylin and eosin (5.9) staining. The precise distinction of MFs from apoptoses and the visualization of the distribution of MFs uncovering mitotic hotspots, even at low magnification, turned out to be major advantages of both mitotic markers. In addition, the average time needed to establish the mitotic count was reduced by 40.3% with MPM-2 and by 50.4% with PHH3. MPM-2 and PHH3 were subjectively rated by all pathologists involved in this study to be very helpful in mitotic counting, especially in melanocytic and mesenchymal lesions but less so in epithelial tumors. Both markers have hence been successfully introduced in our laboratory for the routine assessment of MFs in melanocytic and mesenchymal tumors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal*
  • Histones / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Mitosis / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Phosphoproteins / immunology
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Histones
  • Phosphoproteins