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MicroRNAs are suitable for assessment as biomarkers from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue, and miR-24 represents an appropriate reference microRNA for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma studies
  1. Rachel Emily Culpin1,
  2. Michal Sieniawski1,
  3. Stephen John Proctor1,
  4. Geetha Menon2,
  5. Tryfonia Mainou-Fowler1
  1. 1Academic Haematology, Northern Institute for Cancer Research, Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, UK
  2. 2Cellular Pathology, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rachel Emily Culpin, Academic Haematology, Medical School, Framlington Place, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, UK; Rachel.culpin{at}


Tissue biopsy specimens in the form of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue (FFPET) represent a valuable resource for biomarker identification and validation. However, to date, they remain an underused asset due to uncertainty regarding RNA extraction and the reliability of downstream techniques, including quantitative RT-PCR. Recently, much interest has emerged in the study of microRNAs; small single-stranded RNAs with a role in transcriptional regulation, that are thought to be well preserved in FFPET. In this study, we show that microRNA expression is comparable between FFPET and matched fresh-frozen samples (miR-17-5p: p=0.01, miR-92: p=0.003), and demonstrate that no significant deterioration in expression occurs over prolonged FFPET storage (p=0.06). Furthermore, microRNA expression is equivalent dependant on RNA extraction method (p<0.001) or DNAse treatment of total RNA (p<0.001). Finally, we validate miR-24 as a suitable reference microRNA for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) FFPET studies.

  • Tumour Markers
  • Pcr
  • Haemato-Oncology
  • Molecular Oncology
  • Lymphoma

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