Representativity of TMA studies

Methods Mol Biol. 2010:664:27-35. doi: 10.1007/978-1-60761-806-5_3.


The smaller the portion of a tumor sample that is analyzed becomes, the higher is the risk of missing important histological or molecular features that might be present only in a subset of tumor cells. Many researchers have, therefore, suggested using larger tissue cores or multiple cores from the same donor tissue to enhance the representativity of TMA studies. However, numerous studies comparing the results of TMA studies with the findings from conventional large sections have shown that all well-established associations between molecular markers and tumor phenotype or patient prognosis can be reproduced with TMAs even if only one single 0.6 mm tissue spot is analyzed. Moreover, the TMA technology has proven to be superior to large section analysis in finding new clinically relevant associations. The high number of samples that are typically included in TMA studies, and the unprecedented degree of standardization during TMA experiments and analysis often give TMA studies an edge over traditional large-section studies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Tissue Array Analysis / methods*