J Cancer 2010; 1:178-183. doi:10.7150/jca.1.178

Short Research Communication

Elevated Pressure Improves the Rate of Formalin Penetration while Preserving Tissue Morphology

Ingrid E. Chesnick1, Jeffrey T. Mason1, Timothy J. O'Leary2, Carol B. Fowler1,2

1. Department of Biophysics, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Rockville, Maryland, USA;
2. Biomedical Laboratory Research and Development Service, Veterans Health Administration, Washington, DC, USA


Formaldehyde fixation and paraffin-embedding remains the most widely used technique for processing cancer tissue specimens for pathologic examination, the study of tissue morphology, and archival preservation. However, formaldehyde penetration and fixation is a slow process, requiring a minimum of 15 hr for routine processing of pathology samples. Routinely fixed samples often have a well-fixed outer rim, with a poorly-fixed inner core of tissue. In this study, we show that the application of elevated pressure up to 15,000 psi improves the rate of formaldehyde fixation by approximately 5 to 7-fold while preserving the tissue morphology of porcine liver. The tissue also exhibited much more uniform formaldehyde penetration after 30-60 min incubation under elevated pressure than samples fixed for the same length of time at atmospheric pressure.

Keywords: FFPE, fixation rate, formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded, high-pressure, histology

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How to cite this article:
Chesnick IE, Mason JT, O'Leary TJ, Fowler CB. Elevated Pressure Improves the Rate of Formalin Penetration while Preserving Tissue Morphology. J Cancer 2010; 1:178-183. doi:10.7150/jca.1.178. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v01p0178.htm