Complete solubilization of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue may improve proteomic studies


Correspondence: Professor Shan-Rong Shi, Department of Pathology, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, 2011 Zonal Avenue, HMR 310A, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA


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Tissue-based proteomic approaches (tissue proteomics) are essential for discovering and evaluating biomarkers for personalized medicine. In any proteomics study, the most critical issue is sample extraction and preparation. This problem is especially difficult when recovering proteins from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue sections. However, improving and standardizing protein extraction from FFPE tissue is a critical need because of the millions of archival FFPE tissues available in tissue banks worldwide. Recent progress in the application of heat-induced antigen retrieval principles for protein extraction from FFPE tissue has resulted in a number of published FFPE tissue proteomics studies. However, there is currently no consensus on the optimal protocol for protein extraction from FFPE tissue or accepted standards for quantitative evaluation of the extracts. Standardization is critical to ensure the accurate evaluation of FFPE protein extracts by proteomic methods such as reverse phase protein arrays, which is now in clinical use. In our view, complete solubilization of FFPE tissue samples is the best way to achieve the goal of standardizing the recovery of proteins from FFPE tissues. However, further studies are recommended to develop standardized protein extraction methods to ensure quantitative and qualitative reproducibility in the recovery of proteins from FFPE tissues.