Immunohistochemistry: Specimen Transport

Paraffin Block/Unstained Slides

Package appropriately and mail. Unstained slides should be cut onto charged slides. An H&E to accompany each block is encouraged.

Breast Markers

Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue is optimal. If possible, a block containing both tumor, and normal internal controls (i.e. non-neoplastic breast ducts) is preferred.

  • For Her2 testing, the specimens should be fixed in 10% NBF for at least 6 hours and up to a maximum of 48 hours. 
  • For estrogen and progesterone receptor testing, the specimen should be fixed for at least 6 hours and up to a maximum of 72 hours.
  • Please document the fixation time in 10% NBF in your report or on the requisition form
  • Specimens should be immersed in fixative within one hour of the biopsy or resection 
  • The volume of formalin should be at least 10 times the volume of the specimen
  • If delivery of a resection specimen to the pathology department is delayed (e.g. specimens from remote sites), the tumor should be bisected prior to immersion in fixative. In such cases, it is important that the surgeon ensure that the identity of the resection margins is retained in the bisected specimen; alternatively, the margins may be separately submitted.
  • For questions contact UW Medical Center PA at 206.598.4286.

Aspirate Material

Bulk fluid such as pleural, pericardial, ascites ... must be sent to arrive within 24 hours of obtaining or fixed with formalin. Contact laboratory for advice.

Biopsies for Direct Immunofluorescence

These specimens should be placed in Transport Media (available upon request). Tissues in transport media can be held at room temperature or refrigerated for up to 7 days. DO NOT FREEZE.

Serum for Indirect Immunoflourescence

Draw 7 ml Red Top. Seperate serum. Send on ice.


For each patient send a completed Pathology Service Request (PSR) form, with a note stating suspected differential and/or requested tests, a copy of a Pathology Report and an H&E stained slide if available.

Turnaround Time

Contact Lab


Contact Lab.

CPT Codes

Contact Lab.

Immunocytochemistry Laboratory


University of Washington Medical Center
1959 NE Pacific
Room BB220
Seattle, WA 98195

Contact for technical assistance