Indirect immunofluorescence on rat bladder transitional epithelium: A test with high specificity for paraneoplastic pemphigus

Aries Y. Liu, Rafael Valenzuela, Thomas N. Helm, Charles Camisa, Alton L. Melton, Wilma F. Bergfeld

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Background: Paraneoplastic pemphigus is a blistering disease with specific serum immuno-precipitation findings. Although immunoprecipitation studies allow accurate diagnosis, they are time-consuming, expensive, and not readily available. In contrast, indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) testing of serum on transitional rat bladder epithelium is a simple and inexpensive method available to any immunopathology laboratory. Objective: Our purpose was to determine the specificity of positive IIF on rat bladder epithelium for paraneoplastic pemphigus. Methods: The IIF findings in four index cases of paraneoplastic pemphigus were compared with the findings in 47 patients with a variety of malignant neoplasms and no associated blistering disease as well as 49 patients with vesiculobullous or lichenoid disease but no neoplasia. Results: IIF was negative in all patients with neoplasia and no blistering disease and negative in all but one of the patients with vesiculobullous or lichenoid disease without neoplasia (98.9% specificity). Conclusion: IIF on transitional rat bladder epithelium appears to be a highly specific test for paraneoplastic pemphigus. Because of its simplicity and inexpensiveness, we suggest that IIF be performed on transitional epithelium in any suspected case of paraneoplastic pemphigus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)696-699
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Dermatology

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