J Clin Pathol 61:1055-1057 doi:10.1136/jcp.2008.058545
  • Original articles

Use of tissue ink to maintain identification of individual cores on needle biopsies of the prostate

  1. C M Nicholson1
  1. 1Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Fulwood, Preston, UK
  2. 2Department of Biological Sciences, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK
  1. Mr P B Singh, Department of Urology, Royal Preston Hospital, Fulwood, Preston, UK; parassingh{at}
  • Accepted 19 June 2008
  • Published Online First 19 July 2008


Background: There is an increasing necessity to extract the maximum amount of information, beyond even a cancer diagnosis, from prostate biopsies. Thus, maintaining site-specific information regarding individual biopsy cores might be critical.

Aim: To evaluate the applicability of employing tissue ink to maintain the identity of individual prostatic biopsy cores.

Method: In this ongoing study, 12 core prostate biopsy specimens are sent to the laboratory in individual pots labelled according to anatomical site. The specimens are placed in two separate multi-compartment cassettes. They are inked with different colours to identify the site of origin from each lobe. The cassettes are then processed with a single paraffin block for each side; the six cores from each side can be mounted on a single slide.

Results: The different colours used adhere well to the biopsy cores, thus maintaining the identity of each core. Six cores from each side are embedded in a single paraffin block and examined on a single slide, making it cost-effective, while maintaining high quality, accurate histopathological information.

Conclusion: Differential inking of prostate biopsy cores is an easily applicable method that is cost-effective and provides tumour location information. Prostate biopsy data archived to maintain individual core information might be used to determine applicability of such information to predict extra-capsular extension by correlating with imaging and radical prostatectomy findings, and for treatment planning.


  • Funding: PBS is funded by the Rosemere Cancer Foundation; this charity had no input into preparation of this manuscript.

  • Competing interests: None.