An Introduction Of Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded Tissue

Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) is a procedure that is employed to preserve tissues that are used extensively in a variety of research. It is a method to preserve the morphology and cell details of tissue samples. Through the years it has become the most common preservation method due to its efficiency and cost-effectiveness of long-term storage at ambient temperatures as opposed to frozen tissue which has been stored in low temperatures.

Due to this, pathology departments are now regularly archiving large quantities of FFPE tissue samples in comparison with frozen tissue. This implies that paraffin-embedded tissue is an under-utilized resource of a vast collection of tissue samples. It is a useful source for researchers of all kinds particularly in the field of translational clinical research. However, you can also navigate to get complete information about paraffin-embedded tissue.

Image Source: Google


The process starts with the selection of a specimen and removal from the donor or patient. Tissues can be taken from healthy and diseased donors and animals for research with animal models. After being removed, the tissue is then immersed for 18 to 24 hours in neutral 10% buffered formalin. This process can be referred to as formalin fixation and is vital to maintaining the essential structures and proteins present within the tissue.

When the tissue is prepared, it is dehydrated by increasing concentrations of ethanol, and then is then embedded in paraffin wax blocks that are then transformed into blocks of FFPE. There aren’t any standards for the FFPE process. The procedure used depends on the needs of the researcher or physician who is requesting samples of the tissue. After the paraffin block is cut and then placed on a microscopically-sized slide for examination by a qualified pathologist to determine whether the sample.


The fields in which FFPE tissues are commonly used include:

  • Oncology
  • Immunology
  • Hematology