Paraffin tissue microarrays (PTMAs) introduced by Kononen et al in 1998 have become a widely used technique in routine pathology and even more so in research. Kononen used a tissue puncher/arrayer (Beecher Instruments, Sun Prairie, WI, USA) to take paraffin tissue core biopsy specimens (PTCBs) of 0.6–2 mm in diameter from routine paraffin tissue blocks and transfer them to another paraffin block with up to 1000 holes. As pointed out by Mengel et al, however, it is not possible to use the Kononen/Beecher system to construct PTMAs out of archived PTCBs. To overcome this drawback in the extremely popular Beecher system, the paraffin tissue punch was modified by incorporating a conical 4 mm deep countersink. This countersink was milled with a conical precision cutter that can be bought in an ordinary hardware store (cost <US$5). The countersink facilitates the insertion of an archived PTCB into the paraffin tissue punch and enables the construction of PTMAs with previously archived PTCBs using the widely distributed Beecher system. Moreover, this paraffin tissue punch can be used for other systems to create PTMAs, such as the low-budget systems designed by Vogel.
- PTCB, paraffin tissue core biopsy specimen
- PTMA, paraffin tissue microarray
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Competing interests: The University of Tuebingen is applying for an international patient.