For the best experience on the Abcam website please upgrade to a modern browser such as Google Chrome
If you continue without changing your cookie settings, we'll assume you’re happy with this.
Use our cancer immunohistochemistry (IHC) guide to biomarkers to select the right biomarker and the best IHC antibody for your research.
Biomarkers play a pivotal role in cancer research. Whether this is identifying new biomarkers for improved diagnostics and drug development, validating current biomarkers across different cancer types and stages, or prioritizing targets for translation to preclinical research, the impact of cancer biomarkers on the progression and implementation of the research of these diseases has been vast. Continuing research in this field offers hope for new biomarkers and increased validation and applications of current biomarkers to improve diagnostics and therapeutics for all cancer types. View our video below to find out more.
Download a pdf version of this guide here.
IHC is a hugely popular tool in cancer research and remains the gold standard in clinical cancer diagnostics. Each different type of cancer is associated with specific protein biomarkers that can be identified via IHC to offer a powerful tool to investigate tumor development and responses. Using this technique researchers can identify the histogenesis of tumors, stage tumors, predict tumor prognosis, and predict and monitor therapeutic response. Knowing the utilities and pitfalls of each tumor-associated biomarker is essential to avoid potential diagnostic error, as no absolutely cancer-specific biomarker exists.
These tests can be run quickly, with ease, and at low cost compared to other diagnostic methods. IHC is thus a robust and reliable technique and, with a good panel of specific biomarkers, it is ideal for rapid clinical diagnosis.
Whatever cancer type you are interested in, an essential starting point is the use of a sensitive, specific and consistent IHC antibody. Antibody validation is key to ensuring antibody specificity and reproducibility. We use a variety of experimental applications to validate our antibodies, including IHC and many of the antibodies on our catalog will state that they are suitable for use in IHC.
For consistent results between your IHC experiments and to ensure the long-term viability of your research we recommend using an antibody generated using recombinant technology (i.e. recombinant antibodies). These antibodies are developed in vitro and do not rely on an animal's immune system for production, meaning that batch-to-batch they deliver consistency of performance.
In this guide, we have included a number of the most common cancer types: breast, lung, colorectal, prostate, ovarian and pancreatic cancer and a range of emerging and approved biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis and therapeutic monitoring.
Here you will be able to find the right biomarker for your research and select the most highly recommended antibody for use in IHC.
Header image credit: Detecting cancer in human tissues, LM. Credit: Aamir Ahmed, Jane Pendjiky and Michael Millar. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)