Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



PLoS One








The demand for nucleic acid and protein derivatives from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue has greatly increased due to advances in extraction and purification methods, making these derivatives available for numerous genomic and proteomic platforms. Previously, DNA, RNA, microRNA (miRNA), or protein derived from FFPE tissue blocks were considered “unfit” for such platforms, as the process of tissue immobilization by FFPE resulted in cross-linked, fragmented, and chemically modified macromolecules. We conducted a systematic examination of nucleic acids and proteins co-extracted from 118 FFPE blocks sampled from the AIDS and Cancer Specimen Resource (ACSR) at The George Washington University after stratification by storage duration and the three most common tumor tissue types at the ACSR (adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and papillary carcinoma). DNA, RNA, miRNA, and protein could be co-extracted from 98% of the FFPE blocks sampled, with DNA and miRNA “fit” for diverse genomic purposes including sequencing. While RNA was the most labile of the FFPE derivatives, especially when assessed by RNA integrity number (RIN), it was still “fit” for genomic methods that use smaller sequence lengths, e.g., quantitative PCR. While more than half of the protein derivatives were fit for proteomic purposes, our analyses indicated a significant interaction effect on the absorbance values for proteins derived from FFPE, implying that storage duration may affect protein derivatives differently by tumor tissue type. The mean absorbance value for proteins derived from more recently stored FFPE was greater than protein derived from older FFPE, with the exception of adenocarcinoma tissue. Finally, the fitness of one type of derivative was weakly associated with the fitness of derivatives co-extracted from the same FFPE block. The current study used several novel quality assurance approaches and metrics to show that archival FFPE tissue blocks are a valuable resource for contemporary genomic and proteomic platforms.


Reproduced with permission of PLoS ONE

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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