Skip to Content

How to Submit a Sample

Specimen Requirements

Testing on Peripheral Blood and Bone Marrow

Peripheral blood and bone marrow aspirate samples collected in purple-topped tubes (sodium EDTA anticoagulant) should be shipped to the laboratory promptly on wet ice by overnight courier. In general, 10-30 ml of peripheral blood is needed and 2-5 ml of marrow aspirate. However, please see the summary of individual tests for specific details on material required. For certain tests, it is also possible to submit cDNA, genomic DNA and/or RNA directly for testing. These should be shipped on dry ice for optimal preservation. Delayed shipment of the specimen may compromise the quality of the RNA required for testing.

Do not freeze whole blood or bone marrow before sending.

Testing on Solid Tumor/Frozen Tissue Specimens

Lymph node, skin or other tissue biopsies may be utilized as a source of DNA for molecular assay. Each should be obtained in a sterile manner and transported frozen to preserve DNA integrity. For most assays, including tumor-specific gene rearrangements and bone marrow engraftment studies, 30-50 mg of tissue generally is sufficient.

Molecular orders placed in the context of pathologic consultation may or may not be processed, depending on the discretion of the MD Anderson pathologist.  All molecular tests ordered by outside facilities should be ordered directly to the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory.  

Testing on Paraffin-Embedded Tumor Tissues

For DNA testing, we can utilize either paraffin rolls from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue or sections prepared on glass slides with the areas to be analyzed indicated. For cases requiring extraction from paraffin material. Submit one H&E stained slide and 4-10 unstained slides depending on the amount of tumor tissue present. For 0.4 uM thick tissue sections of at least 0.5 cm2 area, submit 4 slides. For smaller tissue sections, submit up to 10 slides. Microsatellite instability and some LOH testing require tissues from both normal (uninvolved) and tumor samples from the same patient.

Submitting a Sample (from outside MD Anderson)

  1. Choose appropriate test(s) from roster of tests available.
  2. Fill out the Test Requisition Form (pdf) completely.
  3. Submit surgical pathology report (for testing on solid tumor specimens).
  4. Send specimens to:

    Attn: Processing Department
    The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
    Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory
    8515 Fannin, Room NA1.075
    Houston, Texas 77054

Direct questions regarding specimen requirements to the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory via phone at 713-794-4780, fax at 713-794-4773 or e-mail to clewing@mdanderson.org.

Submitting a Sample (within MD Anderson)

See tests available page for appropriate test indication, sample type and amount needed for testing.

Fill out Hematopathology Test Requisition from Forms Anywhere (password protected; call 4-info for assistance).

Send specimens:

  • Bone Marrow (2-3 cc) specimens should be delivered in EDTA (purple top) tubes to the Bone Marrow Laboratory, Rm. R4.2137. ext. 2-6309
  • Peripheral blood (10-30 cc) should be delivered in EDTA (purple top) tubes to Laboratory Services, Rm. R4.1446, ext. 2-6300

Form for Submission

Please use the following form to request sample testing in the Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Test Requisition Form (pdf)


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center