Optimization of Tissue Microarrays from Banked Human Formalin-Fixed Paraffin Embedded Tissues in the Cancer Research Setting

Biopreserv Biobank. 2019 Oct;17(5):452-457. doi: 10.1089/bio.2019.0011. Epub 2019 Jun 13.


The tissue microarray (TMA) is a powerful tool for cancer biomarker discovery and validation. Tens to hundreds of samples can be evaluated simultaneously for molecular marker status at the protein or nucleic acid level. Although fully automated or semiautomated technologies for TMA creation provide excellent precision with respect to core transfer, they do not obviate the need for technical expertise to successfully generate high-quality TMA blocks and derivative sections. We have leveraged our expanding bank of formalin-fixed paraffin embedded paired tumor and normal tissues in our academic cancer center to provide a rich source of input material for cancer research TMAs. In this study, we report a stepwise optimization of TMA generation parameters, including paraffin wax selection, tempering protocol, and sectioning conditions, to achieve the best ribbon sectioning.

Keywords: FFPE; TMA; optimization; tissue microarrays.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Formaldehyde
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Paraffin Embedding
  • Tissue Array Analysis / methods*
  • Tissue Fixation


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Formaldehyde