The mucicarmine staining procedure is very specific in its detection of mucins of epithelial origin. It is often used to identify adenocarcinomas, distinguishing these from squamous-cell carcinomas. It is particularly useful in detecting adenocarcinomas originating from the gastrointestinal tract.
This procedure can also successfully stain and detect the capsule of a fungal organism known as Cryptococcus neoformans . This fungus is usually identified in the lungs and in nervous tissues. C. neoformans is more likely to infect immunocompromised patients than persons with active immune systems.