Re: HPS Masson stain (was French Stain Acronym)

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From:"Tim Morken" <>
Date:Tue, 21 Sep 1999 07:42:41 EDT
Content-Type:text/plain; format=flowed

There was an article a few years ago in Lab Medicine or the J Histotech 
about this stain.

----Original Message Follows----
Subject: HPS Masson stain (was French Stain Acronym)
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 1999 15:27:52 EDT

In a message dated 9/20/99 2:53:04 PM, you wrote:

Robert Pascal at Emory notes, following a query Ed Uthman posted from a
French translator about what an HPS stain was:

<<The HPS stain is Hematoxylin-Saffron-Phloxine, a trichrome stain, 
in Canada (at McGill?), and employing Safran du Gatinais to color collagen
yellow. We used it as our routine surgical pathology stain at
Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York for many years. The yellow dye
[Crocin, Saffron, C.I. 75100] was a natural product, derived from the 
crocus, same as the edible stuff, and was altogether different from the red
aniline dye safranin [C.I. 50240 and others. It was a beautiful stain and
took only 10 minutes longer than an H&E. Eventually the cost of the saffron
became prohibitive, and the H&E returned.>>

(I've corrected some spellings of dye names and added Colour Index numbers.)
Phloxine B (C.I. 45410) was the other dye used. The hematoxylin was an
ordinary alum hematoxylin.

The stain was one of several closely related trichrome stains that were
developed by Pierre Masson, in Montreal I believe, early in this rapidly
fading century. When I saw it in use at Columbia-Presbyterian in the
mid-Sixties, it was a truly spectacular stain. I was told that it was still
in fairly widespread use as a routine surgical pathology stain in New York
City. The price of saffron, a natural product with no synthetic substitute,
rose rapidly after that. The cost and the overwhelming medicinal odor of the
alcohol based saffron extract brought about its demise. A wondrously complex
stain in the WHO (not AFIP) tumor fascicle for lung tumors was a descendant
of the HPS stain.

Stains with light-colored (usually green) collagen stains (such as the
Goldner-Foot Masson stain) were used by some surgical pathology services in
the 1930's. Chandler Foot probably used this stain routinely at New York
Hospital in the 1930's. Unfortunately his life's work was destroyed in a
management disaster in 1960.

I'm going to cross-post this to Histonet with the question: Is anybody out
there still doing this stain?

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Knoxville TN

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