A procedure for tissue freezing and processing applicable to both intra-operative frozen section diagnosis and tissue banking in surgical pathology

Virchows Arch. 2008 Mar;452(3):305-12. doi: 10.1007/s00428-008-0584-y.


Different methods for snap freezing surgical human tissue specimens exist. At pathology institutes with higher work loads, solid carbon dioxide, freezing sprays, and cryostat freezing are commonly used as coolants for diagnosing frozen tissue sections, whereas for tissue banking, liquid nitrogen or isopentane cooled with liquid nitrogen is preferred. Freezing tissues for diagnostic and research purposes are therefore often time consuming, laborious, even hazardous, and not user friendly. In tissue banks, frozen tissue samples are stored in cryovials, capsules, cryomolds, or cryocassettes. Tissues are additionally embedded using freezing media or wrapped in plastic bags or aluminum foils to prevent desiccation. The latter method aggravates enormously further tissue handling and processing. Here, we describe an isopentane-based workflow which concurrently facilitates tissue freezing and processing for both routine intra-operative frozen section and tissue banking and satisfies the qualitative demands of pathologists, cancer researchers, laboratory technicians, and tissue bankers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / genetics
  • Actins / metabolism
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cryoprotective Agents / chemistry
  • Freezing*
  • Frozen Sections / instrumentation
  • Frozen Sections / methods*
  • Histological Techniques / instrumentation
  • Histological Techniques / methods
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Ki-67 Antigen / analysis
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pathology, Surgical / instrumentation
  • Pathology, Surgical / methods*
  • Pentanes / chemistry
  • RNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • RNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Specimen Handling / instrumentation
  • Specimen Handling / methods
  • Tissue Banks*


  • Actins
  • Cryoprotective Agents
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Pentanes
  • RNA, Neoplasm
  • isopentane