Tissue Microarrays: A Current Medical Research Tool

Iqbal S. Shergill; N. K. Shergill; M. Arya; H. R. H. Patel


Curr Med Res Opin. 2004;20(5) 

In This Article

Improvements in Histopathology

It is known that there is significant inter-observer variation in the interpretation of tissue staining in immunohistochemistry. TMAs have been shown to be an extremely useful tool for reducing this variation and therefore have a distinct advantage over standard section technique. Another simple, but effective and reliable method for internal quality control has been described with the use of internal control tissues in a 'mini-TMA format'.[32] In this technique the test tissues and the tissue of interest are stained under the same conditions with the identical concentration of antibody. The use of TMAs in routine immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization techniques has been demonstrated for antibodies and probes currently available.[33,34,35] With the introduction of new markers, TMAs will be ideally suited for rapid and accurate optimisation,[36] avoiding the need to extinguish vital archival histopathological specimens. Furthermore, it may be an extremely important aid for teaching histopathology trainees, and indeed clinicians who work in close conjunction with them. A recent publication indicated that 90% of pathologists considered the TMA approach useful for resident training and for pathology teaching.[31]

A recently described use for TMAs includes the analysis of frozen tissue[12] and cell lines.[13] Although experimental at the present time, the TMAs can be stored and reevaluated when a novel marker is subsequently identified. This will clearly have a major impact on translational research for the future by the rapid transfer of results from cell lines and animal models to human tumours.