Proteome science

Evaluation of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues in the proteomic analysis of parathyroid glands.

PMID 21651755


Proteomic research in the field of parathyroid tissues is limited by the very small dimension of the glands and by the low incidence of cancer lesions (1%). Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue specimens are a potentially valuable resource for discovering protein cancer biomarkers. In this study we have verified the applicability of a heat induced protein extraction from FFPE parathyroid adenoma tissues followed by a gel-based or gel-free proteomic approach in order to achieve protein separation and identification. The best results for high quality MS spectra and parameters, were obtained by using a gel-free approach, and up to 163 unique proteins were identified. Similar results were obtained by applying both SDS-out and SDS-out + TCA/Acetone techniques during the gel-free method. Western blot analysis carried out with specific antibodies suggested that the antigenicity was not always preserved, while specific immunoreactions were detected for calmodulin, B box and SPRY domain-containing protein (BSPRY), peroxiredoxin 6 (PRDX 6) and parvalbumin. In spite of some limitations mainly due to the extensive formalin-induced covalent cross-linking, our results essentially suggest the applicability of a proteomic approach to FFPE parathyroid specimens. From our point of view, FFPE extracts might be an alternative source, especially in the validation phase of protein biomarkers when a large cohort of samples is required and the low availability of frozen tissues might be constraining.