Background: Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues are a valuable resource for clinical and basic science research. Paraffin blocks and the resulting unstained sections (USS) are often stored for years before being used. Previous studies have evaluated the effects of time, temperature, humidity, and inert gases on preservation of USS; however, no study has examined all four variables together. Methods: In the current work, we prospectively and blindly assessed time points from 0 to 24 months, room versus refrigerated temperature, and presence of a desiccant and/or nitrogen atmosphere on a variety of benign and malignant tissues from North America and Africa. End points included immunohistochemistry (IHC), in situ hybridization (ISH), extracted RNA and DNA quantity and quality, and messenger RNA performance in a novel, multiplexed digital gene expression profiling assay of both housekeeping and tumor-specific genes. Results: We found that using current methods of antigen retrieval, staining, and extraction, the end points of IHC, ISH, RNA, and DNA were well preserved under the various conditions tested, with implications that pre-embedding factors contribute to variability in subsequent tissue integrity. We also document that spectrophotometric estimations of nucleic acid concentrations were in general estimated to be higher than with fluorimetric methods, which may be pertinent to end assay development. We further describe a new multiplex assay, the PlexSet digital gene expression assay, suitable for evaluating RNA quality in FFPE tissues. Conclusion: Altogether, these results may provide helpful guidance with regard to approaches for long-term storage conditions for USS.
- gene expression profiling
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Cell Biology