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Per Med. 2013 Jul;10(5):441-451. doi: 10.2217/pme.13.42.

Tissue microarrays: leaping the gap between research and clinical adoption.

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Genoptix Medical Laboratory, Carlsbad, CA, USA.
Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
Clinical Development Laboratory, Merck & Company, Office: RY50-1E-144, Maildrop RY 50-100, 126 Lincoln Avenue, Rahway, NJ 07065, USA.


The use of tissue microarrays (TMAs) in the preclinical and translational research settings has become ubiquitous as they allow for high-throughput in situ biomarker analysis of hundreds of patient samples, with time and cost efficiency. Coupled with advanced imaging and image-analysis technologies that allow for objective and standardized biomarker expression assessment, TMAs have become critical tools for the development and validation of clinically meaningful biomarker diagnostic assays. However, their diagnostic use in the clinical laboratory setting is limited due to the need for conventional whole-section tissue assessment used for routine diagnostic purposes. In this article, after reviewing TMA basics and their translational and clinical research applications, we will focus on the use of TMAs for robust assay development and quality control in the clinical laboratory setting, as well as provide insights into how TMAs may serve well in the clinical setting as assay performance and quantification controls.


assay development; biomarker; clinical application; diagnostic testing; digital pathology; quality control; tissue microarray


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