Tissue microarray (TMA) is an established and valuable tool, particularly in translational research and clinical trials, allowing resource-efficient use, and high-throughput profiling, of large numbers of tumours. Despite this, there is little evidence, or guidance, on the optimum manufacture, use and assessment of TMAs. Here we review some of the literature, using breast cancer as an example, to highlight good practice and pitfalls in the design and manufacture of TMAs. Issues, such as the size, number, spacing and layout of cores, as well as the assessment and reporting of studies using TMAs are addressed. We make some suggestions regarding these challenges, and propose a checklist of features that should be considered in order to stimulate debate and improve the quality of data produced by TMA analysis.