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Open Access Open Badges Methodology

An inexpensive method of small paraffin tissue microarrays using mechanical pencil tips

Abdelhadi M Shebl, Khaled R Zalata, Maha M Amin and Amira K El-Hawary*

Author affiliations

Pathology department, faculty of medicine, Mansoura University, Egypt

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Citation and License

Diagnostic Pathology 2011, 6:117  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-6-117

Published: 1 December 2011



Tissue microarray technology has provided a high throughput means of evaluating potential biomarkers in archival pathological specimens. This study was carried out in order to produce tissue microarray blocks using mechanical pencil tips without high cost.


Conventional mechanical pencil tips (Rotring Tikky II Mechanical Pencil 1.0 mm) were used to cut out 1 mm wax cylinders from the recipient block, creating from 36 to 72 holes. Three cores of tumor areas were punched out manually by using the mechanical pencil tips from donor paraffin embedded tissue blocks and transferred to the holes of the paraffin tissue microarrays.


This technique was easy and caused little damage to the donor blocks. We successfully performed H&E slides and immunodetection without substantial tissue cylinder loss.


Our mechanical pencil tip technique is the most inexpensive easy technique among the literature. It also takes a reasonable amount of time and reduces antibody consumption during immunohistochemistry

Paraffin tissue; microarrays-mechanical; pencil tips