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Most human tumor tissues that are obtained for pathology and diagnostic purposes are formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded (FFPE). To perform quantitative proteomics of FFPE samples, paraffin has to be removed and formalin-induced crosslinks have to be reversed prior to proteolytic digestion. A central component of almost all deparaffinization protocols is xylene, a toxic and highly flammable solvent that has been reported to negatively affect protein extraction and quantitative proteome analysis. Here, we present a 'green' xylene-free protocol for accelerated sample preparation of FFPE tissues based on paraffin-removal with hot water. Combined with tissue homogenization using disposable micropestles and a modified protein aggregation capture (PAC) digestion protocol, our workflow enables streamlined and reproducible quantitative proteomic profiling of FFPE tissue. Label-free quantitation of FFPE cores from human ductal breast carcinoma in situ (DCIS) xenografts with a volume of only 0.79 mm3 showed a high correlation between replicates (r2 = 0.992) with a median %CV of 16.9%. Importantly, this small volume is already compatible with tissue micro array (TMA) cores and core needle biopsies, while our results and its ease-of-use indicate that further downsizing is feasible. Finally, our FFPE workflow does not require costly equipment and can be established in every standard clinical laboratory.


Georgia Mitsa, Qianyu Guo, Christophe Goncalves, Samuel E J Preston, Vincent Lacasse, Adriana Aguilar-Mahecha, Naciba Benlimame, Mark Basik, Alan Spatz, Gerald Batist, Wilson H Miller, Sonia V Del Rincon, René P Zahedi, Christoph H Borchers. A Non-Hazardous Deparaffinization Protocol Enables Quantitative Proteomics of Core Needle Biopsy-Sized Formalin-Fixed and Paraffin-Embedded (FFPE) Tissue Specimens. International journal of molecular sciences. 2022 Apr 18;23(8)

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PMID: 35457260

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