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Open Access Highly Accessed Methodology article

Reliable microRNA profiling in routinely processed formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded breast cancer specimens using fluorescence labelled bead technology

Britta Hasemeier, Matthias Christgen, Hans Kreipe and Ulrich Lehmann*

Author Affiliations

Institute of Pathology, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Hannover, Germany

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BMC Biotechnology 2008, 8:90  doi:10.1186/1472-6750-8-90

Published: 27 November 2008

Abstract

Background

During the last years the analysis of microRNA expression patterns has led to completely new insights into cancer biology. Furthermore, these patterns are a very promising tool for the development of new diagnostic and prognostic markers. However, most human tumour samples for which long term clinical records are available exist only as formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded specimens. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the feasibility of microRNA profiling studies in routinely processed formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded human breast cancer specimens using fluorescence labelled bead technology.

Results

A statistically highly significant correlation (Spearman r: 0.78 – 0.90, p < 0.0001) was observed for the expression of 319 microRNAs in routinely processed FFPE breast cancer specimens and paired fresh frozen tissue samples (n = 5). Results were confirmed in a larger series analyzing a selection of 10 microRNAs reported to be deregulated in breast cancer (n = 12). The expression pattern of 3 microRNAs was independently validated in this cohort using real-time RT-PCR technology.

Conclusion

Comprehensive microRNA expression patterns can be reliably derived from routinely processed FFPE breast cancer specimens using fluorescence labelled bead technology.