Formalin fixation has been the standard method for conservation of clinical specimens for decades. However, a major drawback is the high degradation of nucleic acids, which complicates its use in genome-wide analyses. Unbiased identification of biomarkers, however, requires genome-wide studies, precluding the use of the valuable archives of specimens with long-term follow-up data. Therefore, restoration protocols for DNA from formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples have been developed, although they are cost-intensive and time-consuming. An alternative to FFPE and snap-freezing is the PAXgene Tissue System, developed for simultaneous preservation of morphology, proteins, and nucleic acids. In the current study, we compared the performance of DNA from either PAXgene or formalin-fixed tissues to snap-frozen material for genome-wide DNA methylation analysis using the Illumina 450K BeadChip. Quantitative DNA methylation analysis demonstrated that the methylation profile in PAXgene-fixed tissues showed, in comparison with restored FFPE samples, a higher concordance with the profile detected in frozen samples. We demonstrate, for the first time, that DNA from PAXgene conserved tissue performs better compared with restored FFPE DNA in genome-wide DNA methylation analysis. In addition, DNA from PAXgene tissue can be directly used on the array without prior restoration, rendering the analytical process significantly more time- and cost-effective.
Analytical Biochemistry, 2014, Vol 468C, p. 50-58
PAXgene DNA methylation Illumina 450K BeadChip FFPE DNA restoration Genome-wide methylation analysis