Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue archives are the largest and longest time-spanning collections of patient material in pathology archives. Methods to disclose information with molecular techniques, such as array comparative genomic hybridisation (aCGH) have rapidly developed but are still not optimal. Array comparative genomic hybridisation is one efficient method for finding tumour suppressors and oncogenes in solid tumours, and also for classification of tumours. The fastest way of analysing large numbers of tumours is through the use of archival tissue samples with first, the huge advantage of larger median follow-up time of patients studied and second, the advantage of being able to locate and analyse multiple tumours, even across generations, from related individuals (families). Unfortunately, DNA from archival tissues is not always suitable for molecular analysis due to insufficient quality. Until now, this quality remained undefined. We report the optimisation of a genomic-DNA isolation procedure from FFPE pathology archives in combination with a subsequent multiplex PCR-based quality-control that simply identified all samples refractory to further DNA-based analyses.