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Clin Cancer Res. 2003 Dec 1;9(16 Pt 1):5980-7.

Feasibility of using low-volume tissue samples for gene expression profiling of advanced non-small cell lung cancers.

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Department of Hematology-Oncology, National University Hospital, Singapore.



The majority of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) present at an advanced clinical stage, when surgery is not a recommended therapeutic option. In such cases, tissues for molecular research are usually limited to the low-volume samples obtained at the time of diagnosis, usually via fine-needle aspiration (FNA). We tested the feasibility of performing gene expression profiling of advanced NSCLCs using amplified RNA from lung FNAs.


A total of 46 FNAs was tested, of which 18 yielded RNA of sufficient quality for microarray analysis. Expression profiles of these 18 samples were compared with profiles of 17 pairs of tumor and normal lung tissues that had been surgically obtained. Using a variety of unsupervised and supervised analytical approaches, we found that the FNA profiles were highly distinct from the normal samples and similar to the tumor profiles.


We conclude that when RNA amplification is successful, gene expression profiles from NSCLC FNAs can determine malignancy and suggest that with additional refinement and standardization of sample collection and RNA amplification protocols, it will be possible to conduct additional and more detailed molecular analysis of advanced NSCLC using lung FNAs.

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