Translational research relies on high-quality biospecimens. In patients with rectal cancer treated preoperatively with radiochemotherapy tissue based analyses are challenging. To assess quality challenges we analyzed tissue samples taken over the last years in a multicenter setting. We retrospectively evaluated overall 197 patients of the CAO/ARO/AIO-94- and 04-trial with locally advanced rectal cancer that were biopsied preoperatively at the University Medical Center Goettingen as well as in 10 cooperating hospitals in Germany. The cellular content of tumor, mucosa, stroma, necrosis and the amount of isolated DNA and RNA as well as the RNA integrity number (RIN) as quality parameters were evaluated. A high RNA yield (p = 2.75e-07) and the content of tumor (p = 0.004) is significantly associated to high RIN-values, whereas a high content of mucosa (p = 0.07) shows a trend and a high amount of necrosis (p = 0.01) is significantly associated with RNA of poor quality. Correlating biopsies from Goettingen and the cooperating centers showed comparable tumor content results. By taking small sized biopsies we could assess a clear correlation between a good RNA quality and a high amount of RNA and tumor cells. These results also indicate that specimens collected at different centers are of comparable quality.