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Keywords:

  • Animal proteomics;
  • FFPE;
  • LC-MS;
  • Nontagged proteomics;
  • Pancreatic cancer;
  • Systems biology

A number of reports have recently emerged with focus on extraction of proteins from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues for MS analysis; however, reproducibility and robustness as compared to flash frozen controls is generally overlooked. The goal of this study was to identify and validate a practical and highly robust approach for the proteomics analysis of FFPE tissues. FFPE and matched frozen pancreatic tissues obtained from mice (n = 8) were analyzed using 1D-nanoLC-MS(MS)2 following work up with commercially available kits. The chosen approach for FFPE tissues was found to be highly comparable to that of frozen. In addition, the total number of unique peptides identified between the two groups was highly similar, with 958 identified for FFPE and 1070 identified for frozen, with protein identifications that corresponded by approximately 80%. This approach was then applied to archived human FFPE pancreatic cancer specimens (n = 11) as compared to uninvolved tissues (n = 8), where 47 potential pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma markers were identified as significantly increased, of which 28 were previously reported. Further, these proteins share strongly overlapping pathway associations to pancreatic cancer that include estrogen receptor α. Together, these data support the validation of an approach for the proteomic analysis of FFPE tissues that is straightforward and highly robust, which can also be effectively applied toward translational studies of disease.