The utility of staining Reed-Sternberg (RS) cells with CD30, CD15 and CD45 as a diagnostic aid in Hodgkin's disease (HD) and the value of microwave citrate antigen retrieval (AR) method in improving the results of immunohistochemical (IHC) studies were evaluated. Histological and immunohistological studies were carried out on 21 patients with HD seen from January 1987 to December 1996 in the Pathology Department of the Cumhuriyet University, School of Medicine. Avidin biotin peroxidase complex (ABC) was used in IHC study as a method for detection of RS cells. Monoclonal antibodies CD30, CD15 and CD45 were applied on formalin fixed paraffin embedded tissue sections. In order to enhance the immunoreactivity, microwave citrate AR method and proteolytic pretreatment were used. The reactivity of RS cells and staining patterns were determined. In 14 (70%) of the 20 patients, RS cells stained positively with CD30, in 16 (80%) CD15 staining was positive and only 1 (5%) was positively stained with CD45. A combination of cytoplasmic with cell surface staining was common with CD30, while paranuclear deposit with cell surface and cytoplasmic staining was common with CD15. In conclusion, to facilitate the detection of RS cells in formalin fixed paraffin embedded tissues, the application of a panel of markers appears to be necessary. Also AR method seems to be helpful in obtaining optimal results on formalin fixed paraffin embedded tissue.