Distinguishing benign from malignant pleural effusions by lectin immunocytochemistry

E. Rosen-Levin, J. R. Patil, C. W. Watson, J. Jagirdar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Since distinguishing malignant from benign cells in pleural effusions can be difficult, with reactive mesothelial cells simulating adenocarcinoma cells, the binding patterns of a battery of lectins on cells in eight benign and eight malignant effusions were studied using the avidin-biotin peroxidase complex method. The following lectins were used: concanavalin A, Dolichos biflorus agglutinin, peanut agglutinin, Phaseolus vulgaris agglutinin, Ricinus communis germ agglutinin, soybean agglutinin, Ulex europeaus agglutinin (UEA) and wheat germ agglutinin. Several patterns of staining were seen with the lectins, but only UEA was helpful in distinguishing between benign and malignant effusions. Sixty percent of the adenocarcinomas stained with UEA, whereas none of the cells in the benign effusions did. These results imply that UEA positivity is indicative of carcinoma and can be useful in separating reactive or atypical mesothelial cells from adenocarcinoma cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-504
Number of pages6
JournalActa Cytologica
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology


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