Use of dissected paraffin block tissue as a source of mRNA for transcriptional profiling and biomarker identification: a review, with preliminary findings in adrenocortical carcinoma tissue

  • Urszula Waszut Department of Nuclear Medicine, Medical University of Gdansk, Gdańsk, Poland
  • Norman F. Taylor King’s College Hospital, London, SE5 9RS UK


Cancer tissue obtained by biopsy or at surgery is usually handled and stored as formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) blocks. While primarily prepared for histological examination, this material represents a valuable resource that is stable and transportable, and which is ideal for examination in 3 dimensions. It has been used for DNA and protein analysis but the potential for transcriptional profiling has been little exploited: the quality of the extracted RNA is uncertain and there are few reports of its efficient use. We review the background and practicalities of this approach and describe a pilot study as a worked example in which RNA of good yield and quality could be consistently obtained from differentiated areas of adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) tissue.

Author Biography

Norman F. Taylor, King’s College Hospital, London, SE5 9RS UK

Retired from position of Consultant Clinical Biochemist and Head of the Steroid Laboratory, Department of Clinical Chemistry. Now holds an honorary position