Test Catalog

Test Id : CUT

Copper, Liver Tissue

Useful For
Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Diagnosing Wilson disease and primary biliary cirrhosis using liver tissue specimens

Method Name
A short description of the method used to perform the test

Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS)

NY State Available
Indicates the status of NY State approval and if the test is orderable for NY State clients.


Reporting Name
Lists a shorter or abbreviated version of the Published Name for a test

Copper, Liver Ts

Lists additional common names for a test, as an aid in searching

Copper (Cu)

Cu (Copper)

Metals, Tissue

Wilson's Disease

Specimen Type
Describes the specimen type validated for testing

Liver Tissue

Specimen Required
Defines the optimal specimen required to perform the test and the preferred volume to complete testing

Patient Preparation: Gadolinium is known to interfere with most metal tests. If gadolinium-containing contrast media has been administered a specimen should not be collected for 96 hours.

Supplies: Metal Free Specimen Vial (T173)


Preferred: Mayo metal-free specimen vial (blue label)

Acceptable: Paraffin block if no more than 1 or 2 cuts have been made to it for slides

Specimen Volume: 2 mg

Collection Instructions:

1. Two mg of liver tissue is required. This is typically a piece of tissue from a 22-gauge needle biopsy at least 2 cm long. If an 18-gauge needle is used, the tissue must be at least 1 cm in length.

2. Any specimen vial other than a Mayo metal-free vial used should be plastic, leached with 10% nitric acid for 2 days, rinsed with redistilled water, and dried in clean air.

Additional Information: Paraffin blocks will be returned 3 days after analysis is complete.


If not ordering electronically, complete, print, and send a Gastroenterology and Hepatology Client Test Request (T728) with the specimen.

Specimen Minimum Volume
Defines the amount of sample necessary to provide a clinically relevant result as determined by the Testing Laboratory

2 cm (22-gauge needle)

1 cm (18-gauge needle)

2 mm x 2 mm (punch) 0.3 mg by dry weight

Reject Due To
Identifies specimen types and conditions that may cause the specimen to be rejected

  All specimens will be evaluated at Mayo Clinic Laboratories for test suitability.

Specimen Stability Information
Provides a description of the temperatures required to transport a specimen to the performing laboratory, alternate acceptable temperatures are also included

Specimen Type Temperature Time Special Container
Liver Tissue Refrigerated (preferred)

Useful For
Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Diagnosing Wilson disease and primary biliary cirrhosis using liver tissue specimens

Clinical Information
Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Homeostatic regulation of copper metabolism is very complex. The liver is the key organ to facilitate copper storage and incorporation of copper into the transport protein ceruloplasmin. Intestinal absorption and biliary excretion also play major roles in the regulation of copper homeostasis.


Abnormal copper metabolism is associated with liver disease. Elevated serum copper concentrations are seen in portal cirrhosis, biliary tract disease, and hepatitis, probably because excess copper that would normally be excreted in the bile is retained in circulation. In primary biliary cirrhosis, ceruloplasmin is high, resulting in high serum copper. Lesser elevations of hepatic copper are found in chronic copper poisoning, obstructive jaundice, and certain cases of hepatic cirrhosis. Reduced serum copper concentration is typical of Wilson disease (hepatolenticular degeneration). Wilson disease is characterized by liver disease, neurologic abnormalities, and psychiatric disturbances. Kayser-Fleischer rings are normally present and urinary copper excretion is increased, while serum copper and ceruloplasmin are low.

Reference Values
Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

<50 mcg/g dry weight

Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

The constellation of symptoms associated with Wilson disease, which includes Kayser-Fleischer rings, behavior changes, and liver disease, is commonly associated with liver copper concentrations above 250 mcg/g dry weight.



>1000 mcg/g dry weight:

This finding is strongly suggestive of Wilson disease.



250-1000 mcg/g dry weight:

This finding is suggestive of possible Wilson disease.



50-250 mcg/g dry weight:

Excessive copper at this level can be associated with cholestatic liver disease, such as primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, autoimmune hepatitis, and familial cholestatic syndrome. Heterozygous carriers for Wilson disease occasionally have modestly elevated values, but rarely higher than 125 mcg/g of dry weight. In general, the liver copper content is higher than 250 mcg/g dried tissue in patients with Wilson disease.


If any of the above findings are without supporting histology and other biochemical test results, contamination during collection, handling, or processing should be considered. Genetic testing for Wilson disease (WDZ / Wilson Disease, Full Gene Analysis, Varies) is available at Mayo Clinic Laboratories, call 800-533-1710 if you need additional assistance.


In patients with elevated levels of copper without supporting histology and other biochemical test results, contamination during collection, handling, or processing should be considered.

Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

Specimen handling should be minimized.


Elevated copper levels without supporting histology or other biochemical test results should instigate an investigation into whether the specimen has been contaminated.


A minimum tissue dry weight of 0.3 mg is required for analysis. This is the equivalent of a piece of tissue from a 22-gauge needle approximately 0.5 cm long, or approximately 0.3 cm in length when taken with an 18-gauge needle. Since the specimen must be manipulated during analysis, more than the minimal amount described in the previous sentence must be submitted for analysis.


Paraffin blocks that have been cut for slides may be contaminated if the microtome was previously used to cut specimens that had been fixed with a copper-containing solution. Many fixatives, such as Hollande's, contain high levels of copper. Any object that has been exposed to these fixatives (eg, cutting boards, towels, containers, utensils) and then comes into contact with the tissue can potentially contaminate the specimen. Rinsing and washing will not remove the copper contaminant. Therefore, submission of fresh-frozen, unfixed tissue is strongly recommended.

Clinical Reference
Recommendations for in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. Korman J, Volenberg I, Balko J, et al: Screening for Wilson disease in acute liver failure: a comparison of currently available diagnostic tests. Hepatology. 2008 Oct;48(4):1167-1174

2. Roberts EA, Schlisky ML: Diagnosis and Treatment of Wilson Disease: AASLD Practice Guidelines. Hepatology. 2008;47:2089-2111

3. de Bie P, Muller P, Wijmenga C, Klomp LW: Molecular pathogenesis of Wilson and Menkes disease: correlation of mutations with molecular defects and disease phenotypes. J Med Genet. 2007 Nov;44(11):673-688

4. Merle U, Schaefer M, Ferenci P, Stremmel W: Clinical presentation, diagnosis and long-term outcome of Wilson's disease: a cohort study. Gut. 2007;56:115-120

5. Rifai N, Horwath AR, Wittwer CT, eds. Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics. 6th ed. Elsevier; 2018

Method Description
Describes how the test is performed and provides a method-specific reference

The metal of interest is analyzed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.(Unpublished Mayo method)

PDF Report
Indicates whether the report includes an additional document with charts, images or other enriched information


Day(s) Performed
Outlines the days the test is performed. This field reflects the day that the sample must be in the testing laboratory to begin the testing process and includes any specimen preparation and processing time before the test is performed. Some tests are listed as continuously performed, which means that assays are performed multiple times during the day.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Report Available
The interval of time (receipt of sample at Mayo Clinic Laboratories to results available) taking into account standard setup days and weekends. The first day is the time that it typically takes for a result to be available. The last day is the time it might take, accounting for any necessary repeated testing.

4 to 6 days

Specimen Retention Time
Outlines the length of time after testing that a specimen is kept in the laboratory before it is discarded

60 days

Performing Laboratory Location
Indicates the location of the laboratory that performs the test


Several factors determine the fee charged to perform a test. Contact your U.S. or International Regional Manager for information about establishing a fee schedule or to learn more about resources to optimize test selection.

  • Authorized users can sign in to Test Prices for detailed fee information.
  • Clients without access to Test Prices can contact Customer Service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Prospective clients should contact their Regional Manager. For assistance, contact Customer Service.

Test Classification
Provides information regarding the medical device classification for laboratory test kits and reagents. Tests may be classified as cleared or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and used per manufacturer instructions, or as products that do not undergo full FDA review and approval, and are then labeled as an Analyte Specific Reagent (ASR) product.

This test was developed, and its performance characteristics determined by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements. This test has not been cleared or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

CPT Code Information
Provides guidance in determining the appropriate Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code(s) information for each test or profile. The listed CPT codes reflect Mayo Clinic Laboratories interpretation of CPT coding requirements. It is the responsibility of each laboratory to determine correct CPT codes to use for billing.

CPT codes are provided by the performing laboratory.


LOINC® Information
Provides guidance in determining the Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) values for the order and results codes of this test. LOINC values are provided by the performing laboratory.

Test Id Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
CUT Copper, Liver Ts 8198-4
Result Id Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
Applies only to results expressed in units of measure originally reported by the performing laboratory. These values do not apply to results that are converted to other units of measure.
8687 Copper, Liver Ts 8198-4

Test Setup Resources

Setup Files
Test setup information contains test file definition details to support order and result interfacing between Mayo Clinic Laboratories and your Laboratory Information System.

Excel | Pdf

Sample Reports
Normal and Abnormal sample reports are provided as references for report appearance.

Normal Reports | Abnormal Reports

SI Sample Reports
International System (SI) of Unit reports are provided for a limited number of tests. These reports are intended for international account use and are only available through MayoLINK accounts that have been defined to receive them.

SI Normal Reports | SI Abnormal Reports