Journal of Cytology
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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 134-139

Significance of a galactose specific plant lectin for the differential diagnosis of adenocarcinoma cells in effusion

1 Division of Cytopathology, Regional Cancer Centre, Trivandrum, Kerala, India
2 Division of Cancer Research, Regional Cancer Centre, Trivandrum, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
K Sujathan
Assistant Professor, Molecular Pathology, Division of Cytopathology, Regional Cancer Centre, Medical College Campus, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-9371.62181

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Background : Distinguishing adenocarcinoma cells from reactively proliferated mesothelial cells and macrophages is one of the greatest challenges in the cytodiagnosis of effusions. Aberrant glycosylation of cell surface glycoconjugates is emblematic to malignancy, and lectins being an important class of probes to demonstrate these aberrations, lectin cytochemistry is of great interest to differentiate adenocarcinoma cells from reactive mesothelial cells. Aim : The present study analyzed the potential of a plant lectin to distinguish malignant cells from reactive mesothelial cells and macrophages. Materials and Methods : Snake gourd lectin (SGL) was isolated, purified and conjugated to horse radish peroxidase (HRP) and incubated with the cells of benign (46) as well as malignant (39) effusions using the standard immunocytochemical method with diaminobenzidine as the chromogen. The lectin-bound areas were quantitatively assessed as mild, moderate and intense binding. Statistical Analysis : The mean score for benign and malignant effusions were statistically analyzed. Student's 't'-test was performed to assess the significance. Results : The lectin HRP complex bind to the cytoplasm of benign and malignant cells as well as macrophages. A significantly higher score for intense binding (P = 0.001) was found to differentiate malignant cells from reactive mesothelial cells. Macrophages showed intense irregular binding. Conclusions : SGL binding assay can play a role in the differential diagnosis of metastatic adenocarcinoma in effusions.

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