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RNA. 2007 Oct;13(10):1668-74. Epub 2007 Aug 13.

Systematic analysis of microRNA expression of RNA extracted from fresh frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples.

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  • 1Cancer Genomics Laboratory, Mitchell Cancer Institute, Mobile, Alabama 36688, USA.


microRNAs (miRNAs) are noncoding small RNAs that regulate gene expression at the translational level by mainly interacting with 3' UTRs of their target mRNAs. Archived formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) specimens represent excellent resources for biomarker discovery. Currently there is a lack of systematic analysis on the stability of miRNAs and optimized conditions for expression analysis using FFPE samples. In this study, the expression of miRNAs from FFPE samples was analyzed using high-throughput locked nucleic acid-based miRNA arrays. The effect of formalin fixation on the stability of miRNAs was also investigated using miRNA real-time quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis. The stability of miRNAs of archived colorectal cancer FFPE specimens was characterized with samples dating back up to 10 yr. Our results showed that the expression profiles of miRNAs were in good correlation between 1 mug of fresh frozen and 1-5 mug of FFPE samples (correlation coefficient R (2) = 0.86-0.89). Different formalin fixation times did not change the stability of miRNAs based on real-time qRT-PCR analysis. There are no significant differences of representative miRNA expression among 40 colorectal cancer FFPE specimens. This study provides a foundation for miRNA investigation using FFPE samples in cancer and other types of diseases.

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