PURPOSE: The success of basic molecular research using biospecimens strongly depends on the quality of the specimen. In this study, we evaluated the effects of delayed freezing time on the stability of DNA and RNA in fresh frozen tissue from patients with colorectal cancer. METHODS: Tissues were frozen at 10, 30, 60, and 90 minutes after extirpation of colorectal cancer in 20 cases. Absorbance ratio of 260 to 280 nm (A(260)/A(280)) and agarose gel electrophoresis were evaluated. In addition, the RNA integrity number (RIN) was assayed for the analysis of the RNA integrity. RESULTS: Regardless of delayed freezing time, all DNA and RNA samples revealed A(260)/A(280) ratios of more than 1.9, and all DNA samples showed a discrete, high-molecular-weight band on agarose gel electrophoresis. The RINs were 7.53 +/- 2.04, 6.70 +/- 1.88, 6.47 +/- 2.58, and 4.22 +/- 2.34 at 10, 30, 60, and 90 minutes, respectively. Though the concentration of RNA was not affected by delayed freezing, the RNA integrity was decreased with increasing delayed freezing time. CONCLUSION: According to the RIN results, we recommend that the collection of colorectal cancer tissue should be done within 10 minutes for studies requiring RNA of high quality and within 30 minutes for usual RNA studies.