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Conventional fixation of large solid surgical specimens is a slow process. Consequently, autolytic damage to tissues may occur if the fixative does not reach the central part of the specimen in time. However, as there is also a time relationship between formalin fixation and antigen masking, fixation for too long can also be detrimental. In seeking the optimum balance for fixation, microwave irradiation might be of assistance. This study set out to evaluate methods for fixing entire prostate glands within a brief period of time, using microwave-stimulated formalin fixation. The results show that entire prostates can be optimally fixed if formalin is present throughout the tissue as the temperature is increased by microwave irradiation. This is achieved by injecting the fixative into the prostate at multiple sites immediately following prostatectomy. The technique described ensures standardization of a critical step during tissue processing, leading to uniform microscopic results with both routine and immunohistochemical stains. It is a simple, rapid method, suitable for routine diagnostic use. Using this modified approach, DNA of much larger sizes can be extracted from paraffin-embedded material, which could expand the possibilities for molecular analysis.

Original publication




Journal article


J pathol

Publication Date





369 - 375


Cadherins, DNA, Electrophoresis, Agar Gel, Formaldehyde, Humans, Keratins, Male, Microwaves, Prostate, Prostatectomy, Tissue Fixation, Tumor Suppressor Protein p53