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Lloyd RV, ed. ($125.00.) Humana Press, 2001. ISBN 0 89603 955 2
There are books that provide theory and application and others that concentrate on practical methods. Morphology Methods tries, and for the most part succeeds, in combining both. Its focus is firmly on cellular pathology and, through 20 invited author chapters, all established areas of molecular biology and inmunohistochemistry (IHC) are covered.
The reader will expect and find chapters on the practice and application of in situ hybridisation, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and IHC. Welcome additions include chapters on laser capture microdissection, confocal laser microscopy, in situ PCR, and clonality analysis. Those that concentrate on practice often include pearls of wisdom gleaned from hard bitten experience. Exceptional among these are the chapters covering fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH), PCR, and antigen retrieval. It would also be hard to find a better overview on the application of IHC to the diagnosis of undifferentiated tumours. Although these contributions may be regarded as exceptional, the overall quality is high, the emphasis is on clarity, and the references provided are always comprehensive.
As would be expected in any multi authored text there is a fair degree of repetition. For the most part this complements or reinforces points previously made. However, in the case of the separate descriptions for the ISH and IHC use of tyramide amplification methods this becomes irritating. Although the title of this book would suggest the inclusion of detailed protocols, this feature is variable. Some methods could be used directly at the bench, but others give guidance only. There also appears to be little evidence of a uniform policy being applied to their presentation. Overall, the quality of illustrations is good and some of these are reproduced in a colour plate section. Reference to the latter is essential for the liberally illustrated chapter on the application of IHC for the diagnosis of lymphoid lesions, where the monochromes are often hard to interpret.
In summary, this book should be read by/to all who are students or practitioners of cellular pathology, whether at the bench or at the desk. Hopefully, a second edition will follow in due course providing descriptions of DNA and tissue arrays, together with the use of real time PCR.