Acceptable Weight Ranges for Research Tissue Procurement and Biorepositories, 2015-2017

Biopreserv Biobank. 2018 Dec;16(6):463-466. doi: 10.1089/bio.2018.0068. Epub 2018 Oct 31.


Background: The Cooperative Human Tissue Network, Midwestern Division, is a National Cancer Institute-funded program that provides quality research biospecimens to qualified investigators. Consented human tissues are procured according to researcher specifications for weight (size) and preservation type; weights of samples in significant demand and limited supply are negotiated. Weights of procured tissues are entered into a dedicated biospecimen database. This study seeks to provide guidance for acceptable tissue weights for researchers. Methods: Tissue weights by year and anatomic site were retrieved from the database for primary malignant tissues. The total number of tissues included was 5141. Statistical evaluation of data included the number of tissues for each year, anatomic site as well as minimum, maximum, average weights, standard deviation, and standard error. Anatomic sites with few tissues were excluded. Results: "Stock price" type graphs were constructed to show an average as "volume" with both full weight ranges and range that accommodated 80% of tissues. Average weight and number of sample trends varied by anatomic site. Tissues fell into four weight groups; 10 and 90 percentile boundaries were calculated for each. Smallest average research tissue weights for middle 80% were recorded for prostate and oropharynx (140 mg). Second weight group included tonsil, thyroid, breast, oral cavity, larynx, pancreas, salivary gland, skin, tongue, lung, and parotid (265 mg). The third group included stomach, cervix, colon, esophagus, endometrium, bone, brain, bladder, small bowel, uterus, liver, kidney lymph node, adrenal, and ovary (513 mg). The fourth and heaviest weight group included soft tissue tumors and spleen (1201 mg). Conclusions: Since tissue weights are not usually included in recommendations for research tissue procurement or for frozen tissues stored in biorepositories, we offer this data as a practical guide to researcher acceptable tissue weights for selected sites based on a 3-year researcher request and acceptance history.

Keywords: anatomic site weight groups; biorepository; research tissue weight.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Organ Size
  • Tissue Banks* / standards
  • Tissue Banks* / supply & distribution
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / methods*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / standards
  • United States