BACKGROUND: Most errors in a clinical chemistry laboratory are due to preanalytical errors. Preanalytical variability of biospecimens can have significant effects on downstream analyses, and controlling such variables is therefore fundamental for the future use of biospecimens in personalized medicine for diagnostic or prognostic purposes. CONTENT: The focus of this review is to examine the preanalytical variables that affect human biospecimen integrity in biobanking, with a special focus on blood, saliva, and urine. Cost efficiency is discussed in relation to these issues. SUMMARY: The quality of a study will depend on the integrity of the biospecimens. Preanalytical preparations should be planned with consideration of the effect on downstream analyses. Currently such preanalytical variables are not routinely documented in the biospecimen research literature. Future studies using biobanked biospecimens should describe in detail the preanalytical handling of biospecimens and analyze and interpret the results with regard to the effects of these variables.