Tools to assess tissue quality

Clin Biochem. 2014 Mar;47(4-5):280-7. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2014.02.016. Epub 2014 Feb 22.


Biospecimen science has recognized the importance of tissue quality for accurate molecular and biomarker analysis and efforts are made to standardize tissue procurement, processing and storage conditions of tissue samples. At the same time the field has emphasized the lack of standardization of processes between different laboratories, the variability inherent in the analytical phase and the lack of control over the pre-analytical phase of tissue processing. The problem extends back into tissue samples in biorepositories, which are often decades old and where documentation about tissue processing might not be available. This review highlights pre-analytical variations in tissue handling, processing, fixation and storage and emphasizes the effects of these variables on nucleic acids and proteins in harvested tissue. Finally current tools for quality control regarding molecular or biomarker analysis are summarized and discussed.

Keywords: Biospecimens; Degradation of proteins and nucleic acids; Pre-analytical variables; Tissue quality; Tools to assess tissue quality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Artifacts*
  • Biological Specimen Banks / organization & administration*
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Fixatives / chemistry
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Paraffin Embedding
  • Protein Stability
  • Quality Control
  • RNA Stability
  • Specimen Handling / methods
  • Specimen Handling / standards*
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Preservation / instrumentation
  • Tissue Preservation / methods*


  • Biomarkers
  • Fixatives