Role of Alcian blue (pH 2.5) histochemical stain in diagnostic thyroid pathology: how far is it helpful?


  • Seetu Palo Department of Pathology, Maharajah Institute of Medical Sciences, Vizianagram, Andhra Pradesh
  • Dayananda S. Biligi Department of Pathology, Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, Bengaluru, Karnataka



Alcian blue, Histochemical, Thyroid, Glycoprotein


Background: Controversies and pitfalls are well-known in diagnostic thyroid pathology. Since, the luminal surface of  neoplastic thyroid follicular cells is said to be covered by a glycoproteinaceous material, there is a need  to  investigate the efficacy of  mucin stains like Alcian blue (pH 2.5), which can be used as an adjunctive tool in difficult cases.

Methods: 60 thyroidectomy specimens, received at Department of Pathology, were included in this retrospective analytical study. Alcian blue histochemical (pH 2.5) staining was done on representative sections and assessed for positivity.

Results: Of the 60 cases analysed, all cases of papillary/nodular hyperplasia (n=10), follicular adenoma (n=14), follicular carcinoma (n=4) and medullary carcinoma (n=1) were negative for Alcian blue. Only 3/16 (18.7 %) cases of classical papillary carcinoma and 2/15 (13.3%) cases of follicular variant of papillary carcinoma showed positivity.

Conclusions: We got statistically insignificant results with Alcian blue (pH 2.5) staining, making it unreliable in diagnostic thyroid pathology.


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How to Cite

Palo, S., & Biligi, D. S. (2017). Role of Alcian blue (pH 2.5) histochemical stain in diagnostic thyroid pathology: how far is it helpful?. International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 3(12), 3766–3769.



Original Research Articles