Amplification of tissue by construction of tissue microarrays

Exp Mol Pathol. 2001 Jun;70(3):255-64. doi: 10.1006/exmp.2001.2363.


Tissue microarrays are a method of relocating tissue from conventional histologic paraffin blocks in a manner that tissue from multiple patients or blocks can be seen on the same slide. This is done by using a needle to biopsy a standard histologic section and placing the core into an array on a recipient paraffin block. This technique allows maximization of tissue resources by analysis of small core biopsies of blocks, rather than complete sections. Using this technology, a carefully planned array can be constructed using cases from pathology tissue block archives, and a 20-year survival analysis can be done on a cohort of 600 or more patients using only a few microliters of antibody in a single experiment. Furthermore, this cohort can be analyzed thousands of times with different reagents as a result of judicious sectioning of the array block. This review describes this process and discusses the issues of representative sampling in heterogeneous lesions, the issue of antigen preservation, and some technical strategies and methods of array construction. In summary, this technique can provide a highly efficient, high-throughput mechanism for evaluation of protein expression in large cohorts. It has the potential for allowing validation of new genes at a speed comparable to the rapid rate of gene discovery afforded by DNA microarrays.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Histological Techniques / instrumentation
  • Histological Techniques / methods*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Pathology / instrumentation
  • Pathology / methods*