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Quality assessment and preservation of RNA from biobank tissue specimens: a systematic review
  1. Nicole Joaquim Caixeiro1,2,
  2. Ken Lai1,2,3,4,
  3. Cheok Soon Lee1,2,3
  1. 1Centre for Oncology Education and Research Translation (CONCERT), Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2Discipline of Pathology and Molecular Medicine Research Group, School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3Department of Anatomical Pathology, Liverpool Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  4. 4Department of Pathology, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nicole Joaquim Caixeiro, Centre for Oncology Education and Research Translation (CONCERT), Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, 1 Campbell St, Liverpool, NSW 2170, Australia; nicole.caixeiro{at}


It is well recognised that genomic, proteomic and biomarker studies require properly annotated and well-characterised biospecimens. Consequently, this necessitates biobanks to collect, store and distribute biospecimens under stringent quality control and assurance measures. However, despite this realisation, there remains a lack of standardisation in quality management among biobanks and consensus as to which quality indicators provide the optimal molecular diagnostic performance tools and information for biospecimens. In an attempt to identify key factors that predict tissue specimen integrity and quality, this systematic review investigated the measures reported in the literature, which characterised the collection, processing and storage of high-quality tissue specimens. Our findings demonstrated RNA integrity, alone, may not be an effective measure of tissue quality. Furthermore, the frequently reported parameters related to biospecimen integrity, such as storage time, temperature, time to cryopreservation and tissue morphology were also not effective indicators of quality control and assurance. These findings suggest that it is unlikely that a single marker will provide the optimal diagnostic and performance information for biospecimens, but rather, a panel of markers assessing the molecular integrity of the lifespan of the biospecimen is required. Further work is needed to identify which factors predict specimen integrity and quality in biobanked tissue specimens.


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