Electron microscopy in pathology articles: A retrospective appraisal

Josep Lloreta-Trull, Lola Ferrer, Teresa Ribalta, Marco Pavesi, Sergio Serrano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Electron microscopy (EM) is a valuable standard tool in basic research and teaching. However, its use in diagnosis is limited, either for strategic reasons or budgetary constraints. This means that its many potential applications are more often neglected, either as an ancillary tool, quality control method, or gold standard, to complement, support, or confirm results of pathological studies. To evaluate the use of EM in this setting, the authors analyzed all articles (n = 2,531) in the three top indexed diagnostic pathology journals for a period of 60 months from July 1993 to June 1998. A total of 448 articles in which the use of EM was indicated, according to standard surgical pathology textbooks, were selected. Both the actual and the potential EM content of each article were scored, as follows: zero, illustrative, supportive, gold standard (for confirmation of research results), extensive, and predominant. Of the total number of articles in which EM was indicated, 77% made use of the technique. EM support was lacking most frequently in articles on serosal neoplasms and on new diagnostic strategies (p < .00005). There was no definite trend toward an increase or decrease in the use of EM during the period analyzed. The authors conclude that EM is used in most reports on diagnostic pathology, when it is indicated. However, a small but non-negligible percentage of articles (23%) could benefit from including EM as an ancillary, control, or gold standard method to complement, support, or confirm their results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-108
JournalUltrastructural Pathology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000


  • Anatomic pathology
  • Clinical pathology
  • Electron microscopy
  • Pathologic diagnosis
  • Pathology journals
  • Surgical pathology


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