Validation of tissue microarray technology in squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus

Virchows Arch. 2008 May;452(5):507-14. doi: 10.1007/s00428-008-0602-0.


Tissue microarray (TMA) technology has been developed to facilitate high-throughput immunohistochemical and in situ hybridization analysis of tissues by inserting small tissue biopsy cores into a single paraffin block. Several studies have revealed novel prognostic biomarkers in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) by means of TMA technology, although this technique has not yet been validated for these tumors. Because representativeness of the donor tissue cores may be a disadvantage compared to full sections, the aim of this study was to assess if TMA technology provides representative immunohistochemical results in ESCC. A TMA was constructed containing triplicate cores of 108 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded squamous cell carcinomas of the esophagus. The agreement in the differentiation grade and immunohistochemical staining scores of CK5/6, CK14, E-cadherin, Ki-67, and p53 between TMA cores and a subset of 64 randomly selected donor paraffin blocks was determined using kappa statistics. The concurrence between TMA cores and donor blocks was moderate for Ki-67 (kappa = 0.42) and E-cadherin (kappa = 0.47), substantial for differentiation grade (kappa = 0.65) and CK14 (kappa = 0.71), and almost perfect for p53 (kappa = 0.86) and CK5/6 (kappa = 0.93). TMA technology appears to be a valid method for immunohistochemical analysis of molecular markers in ESCC provided that the staining pattern in the tumor is homogeneous.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Biopsy
  • Cadherins / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Keratin-14 / metabolism
  • Keratin-5 / metabolism
  • Keratin-6 / metabolism
  • Ki-67 Antigen / metabolism
  • Protein Array Analysis / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cadherins
  • Keratin-14
  • Keratin-5
  • Keratin-6
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53