FISH analysis for the detection of lymphoma-associated chromosomal abnormalities in routine paraffin-embedded tissue

J Mol Diagn. 2006 May;8(2):141-51. doi: 10.2353/jmoldx.2006.050083.


Over the last decade, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) has become a firmly established technique in the diagnosis and assessment of lymphoid malignancies. However, this technique is not wide-ly used in the routine diagnostic evaluation of paraffin-embedded biopsies, most likely because of a perception that it is technically more demanding. There are also uncertainties regarding diagnostic thresholds and the way in which results should be interpreted. In this Review, we describe practical strategies for using FISH analysis to detect lymphoma-associated chromosomal abnormalities in routine paraffin-embedded lymphoma biopsies. Furthermore, we provide proposals on how FISH results should be interpreted (including how to calculate cutoff levels for FISH probes), recorded, and reported. An online appendix (available at details various simple, yet robust procedures for paraffin FISH analysis; it also provides additional information on the production of FISH probes, evaluating and reporting FISH results, sources for reagents and equipment, and troubleshooting. We hope that these suggestions will make FISH technology for the study of lymphoma biopsies more accessible to routine diagnostic and research laboratories.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chromosome Aberrations*
  • Gene Dosage
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Interphase / genetics
  • Lymphoma / genetics*
  • Lymphoma / metabolism
  • Lymphoma / pathology*
  • Paraffin Embedding / methods*