Practical aspects of planning, building, and interpreting tissue microarrays: The Cooperative Prostate Cancer Tissue Resource experience

A. Kajdacsy-Balla*, Julia Geynisman-Tan, V. Macias, S. Setty, N. M. Nanaji, J. J. Berman, K. Dobbin, J. Melamed, X. Kong, M. Bosland, J. Orenstein, J. Bayerl, M. J. Becich, R. Dhir, M. W. Datta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


This is a review of several new approaches developed at or adopted by the Cooperative Prostate Cancer Tissue Resource (CPCTR) to resolve issues involved in tissue microarray (TMA) construction and use. CPCTR developed the first needle biopsy TMA, allowing researchers to obtain 200 or more consecutive cancer sections from a single biopsy core. Using radiographs of original paraffin blocks to measure tissue thickness we developed a method to produce TMAs with a larger number of usable sections. The modular approach to plan TMA construction is also a novel concept wherein TMAs of different types, such as tumor grade TMAs, metastasis TMA and hormone refractory tumors TMA can be combined to form an ensemble of TMAs with expanded research utility, such as support for tumor progression studies. We also implemented an open access TMA Data Exchange Specification that allows TMA data to be organized in a self-describing XML document annotated with well-defined common data elements. It ensures inter-laboratory reproducibility because it offers information describing the preparation of TMA blocks and slides. There are many important aspects that may be missed by both beginners and experienced investigators in areas of TMA experimental design, human subjects protection, population sample size, selection of tumor areas to sample, strategies for saving tissues, choice of antibodies for immunohistochemistry, and TMA data management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-121
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Molecular Histology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Experimental design
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Prostate cancer
  • Tissue microarrays

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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