BACKGROUND Tissue-based diagnosis or diagnostic surgical pathology is a highly accurate, sensitive and specific medical diagnostic technique that has expanded rapidly in using both molecular biology and computer technology. OBJECTIVE The objective is to analyze the present stage and potential influence of distributed data acquisition, analysis and presentation in tissue-based diagnosis by using recently developed standardized network systems such as grids. METHODS Interpretation of medical data is often based upon specialized examination, visual information acquisition and transfer as well as upon data collected from various sources. Efficient and accurate diagnostics require standardized data and transfer modes, which can be provided by a grid environment. The medical requirements, construction of an adequate grid environment, practical experiences in various medical disciplines and potential use in tissue-based diagnosis are described. CONCLUSIONS Grid technology is probably a useful tool to meet the conditions of tissue-based diagnosis in the near future, and will probably play a significant role in its further development.