Virchows Archiv

, Volume 452, Issue 2, pp 229–231 | Cite as

Tissue transfer to pathology labs: under vacuum is the safe alternative to formalin

  • Gianni BussolatiEmail author
  • Luigi Chiusa
  • Antonio Cimino
  • Giuseppe D’Armento
Letter to the Editor
The time-honoured use of formalin, both as a preserver and fixative for histological processing is encountering increasing criticisms because of toxicity and environmental concerns. Moreover, the declaration recently issued by the International Agency for Research on Cancer [ 1] which classified formaldehyde as a class 1 carcinogen has definitely increased the request by health authorities, technicians and practicing pathologists to reduce exposure. Such requests contrast with the considerable advantages offered by this safe, chip, reliable fixative. Although it should be acknowledged that in modern pathology laboratories, visitors are not any more met by the permeating flavour of a stingy scent because formalin processing is mostly carried out under aspiration hoods, a critical passage is still represented by the transfer of tissues from the surgical theatre to the pathology lab. Apart from the small biopsies, which are directly collected into pre-filled containers and cause no...


Formalin Tissue Banking Histological Processing Present Proposal Critical Passage 
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Work supported by a grant from Regione Piemonte Ricera Sanitaria Finalizzata.


  1. 1.
    International Agency for Research on Cancer (2006) Monographs on the evaluation of Carcinogenic Risk to humans, vol 88. IARC, Lyon, FranceGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Micke P, Ohshima M, Tahmasebpoor S, Ren ZP, Ostman A, Ponten F, Botling J (2006) Biobanking of fresh frozen tissue: RNA is stable in non-fixed surgical specimens. Lab Invest 86:202–211PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gianni Bussolati
    • 1
    Email author
  • Luigi Chiusa
    • 1
  • Antonio Cimino
    • 1
  • Giuseppe D’Armento
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical Sciences and Human OncologyUniversity of TurinTorinoItaly

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