Using American Type Culture Collection Cell Lines to Evaluate Interlaboratory Variables for Estrogen Receptor and Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 Immunostaining

Benjamin L. Witt*, Wenhua Zhou, Abiy B. Ambaye, Andrew Bellizzi, Christine N. Booth, Kaitlin Sundling, Lananh Nguyen, Donna K. Russell, Malcolm Schinstine, Paul N. Staats, Jean Thomsen, Megan Troxell, Rhona J. Souers, James Dvorak, Xiaoqi Lin, Daniel F.I. Kurtycz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Context.—Most laboratories currently use patient tissues for validating immunohistochemical stains. Objective.—To explore advantages of using cell lines with known antigenicity as a validation method. Design.—Five American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) cell lines with known negative, low positive, and moderate to strong estrogen receptor (ER) expression as well as negative, equivocal, and positive human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) expression were cultured and made into cell blocks. One block from each cell line was fixed in formalin and another in ethanol before cell block preparation. Two sets of paired unstained slides from each block were sent to 10 different laboratories for HER2 and ER staining to be stained on runs from different days according to each laboratory’s defined protocol. Results.—The 10 study participants evaluated 40 slides in a blinded fashion. For ER expression, all 80 interpretations for the ER strong and moderate positive cell lines had the target ER-positive result, and 74 of 80 ER-negative cell lines (92.5%) had agreement with the intended negative result. The ER low positive cell line showed varied but positive expression among all observers. The HER2 (3þ)–positive cell lines yielded a target interpretation of 3þ in 65 of 80 interpretations (81.2%). For the HER2-negative cell line 69 of 78 interpretations (88.5%) were consistent with the target response (0 or 1þ). No significant variation was observed between the ethanol- and non–ethanol-exposed cell lines, or between runs by the same laboratory. Variation from target results clustered within laboratories. Conclusions.—This study indicates that variability between laboratories can be identified by using cell lines for quantitative or semiquantitative immunohistochemistry when using cultured cell lines of known antigenicity. These cell lines could potentially play a role in aiding anatomic pathology laboratories in validating immunohistochemistry tests for formalin- and ethanol-fixed tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-148
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Volume147
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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