Quality control of immunohistochemical evaluation of tumour-associated plasminogen activators and related components. European BIOMED-1 Concerted Action on Clinical Relevance of Proteases in Tumour Invasion and Metastasis

Eur J Cancer. 1998 Aug;34(9):1334-40. doi: 10.1016/s0959-8049(98)00151-8.


The plasminogen activation (PA) system is involved in the breakdown and remodelling of the extracellular matrix. In the case of cancer, this is a prerequisite for invasion and metastasis. The expression of urokinase-type plasminogen activator and plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 in particular have been reported to be of clinical and prognostic value. This has primarily been proven in the case of breast carcinoma and colon carcinoma, using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) as a quantitative assay to determine the level of expression. Immunohistochemistry is another technique to investigate the presence of PA components. It allows assessment in a semiquantitative way and informs in addition on the specific distribution within the tissue. To take full advantage of the benefits of immunohistochemistry, it is important to aim at optimal quality in all steps influencing the final judgement of the staining results. These various steps are highlighted and discussed in this paper.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / standards*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1 / metabolism*
  • Quality Control*
  • Staining and Labeling / standards
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator / metabolism*


  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator