The Journal of molecular diagnostics : JMD

Technical reproducibility of single-nucleotide and size-based DNA biomarker assessment using DNA extracted from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues.

PMID 25746798


DNA extracted from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues has been used in the past to analyze genetic polymorphisms. We evaluated the technical reproducibility of different types of assays for gene polymorphisms using DNA extracted from FFPE material. By using the MassARRAY iPLEX system, we investigated polymorphisms in DPYD (rs1801159 and rs3918290), UMPS (rs1801019), ERCC1 (rs11615), ERCC1 (rs3212986), and ERCC2 (rs13181) in 56 FFPE DNA samples. By using PCR, followed by size-based gel electrophoresis, we also examined TYMS 5' untranslated region 2R/3R repeats and GSTT1 deletions in 50 FFPE DNA samples and 34 DNAs extracted from fresh-frozen tissues and cell lines. Each polymorphism was analyzed by two independent runs. We found that iPLEX biomarker assays measuring single-nucleotide polymorphisms provided consistent concordant results. However, by using FFPE DNA, size-based PCR biomarkers (GSTT1 and TYMS 5' untranslated region) were discrepant in 32.7% (16/49, with exact 95% CI, 19.9%-47.5%; exact binomial confidence limit test) and 4.2% (2/48, with exact 95% CI, 0.5%-14.3%) of cases, respectively, whereas no discrepancies were observed using intact genomic DNA. Our findings suggest that DNA from FFPE material can be used to reliably test single-nucleotide polymorphisms. However, results based on size-based PCR biomarkers, and particularly GSTT1 deletions, using FFPE DNA need to be interpreted with caution. Independent repeated assays should be performed on all cases to assess potential discrepancies.