Tissue microarray (TMA) technology: miniaturized pathology archives for high-throughput in situ studies

J Pathol. 2001 Sep;195(1):72-9. doi: 10.1002/path.893.


Tissue microarray (TMA) technology allows a massive acceleration of studies correlating molecular in situ findings with clinico-pathological information. In this technique, cylindrical tissue samples are taken from up to 1000 different archival tissue blocks and subsequently placed into one empty 'recipient' paraffin block. Sections from TMA blocks can be used for all different types of in situ tissue analyses including immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. Multiple studies have demonstrated that findings obtained on TMAs are highly representative of their donor tissues, despite the small size of the individual specimens (diameter 0.6 mm). It is anticipated that TMAs will soon become a widely used tool for all types of tissue-based research. The availability of TMAs containing highly characterized tissues will enable every researcher to perform studies involving thousands of tumours rapidly. Therefore, TMAs will lead to a significant acceleration of the transition of basic research findings into clinical applications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Specimen Banks*
  • Genetic Markers
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • In Situ Hybridization / methods
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence / methods
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis / methods*
  • Paraffin Embedding*
  • Quality Control


  • Genetic Markers