Lyophilized brain tumor specimens can be used for histologic, nucleic acid, and protein analyses after 1 year of room temperature storage

TitleLyophilized brain tumor specimens can be used for histologic, nucleic acid, and protein analyses after 1 year of room temperature storage
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsMareninov, S, De Jesus, J, Sanchez, DE, Kay, AB, Wilson, RW, Babic, I, Chen, W, Telesca, D, Lou, JJ, Mirsadraei, L, Gardener, TP, Khanlou, N, Vinters, HV, Shafa, BB, Lai, A, Liau, LM, Mischel, PS, Cloughesy, TF, Yong, WH
JournalJournal of Neuro-Oncology
Date Published07/2013
KeywordsBiobank, Biorepository, Brain tumor, External, Freeze-dry, Frozen tissue, Lyophilization, Nucleic Acid, Protein, Room temperature, Tissue

Frozen tissue, a gold standard biospecimen, can yield well preserved nucleic acids and proteins after over a decade but is vulnerable to thawing and has substantial fiscal, spatial, and environmental costs. A long-term room temperature biospecimen storage alternative that preserves broad analytical utility can potentially empower tissue-based research. As there is scant data on the analytical utility of lyophilized brain tumor biospecimens, we evaluated lyophilized (freeze-dried) samples stored for 1 year at room temperature. Lyophilized tumor tissue processed into paraffin sections produced good histology. Yields of extracted DNA, RNA, and protein approximated those of frozen tissue. After 1 year, lyophilized samples yielded high molecular weight DNA that permitted copy number variation analysis, IDH 1 mutation detection, and MGMT promoter methylation PCR. A 27 % decrease in RIN scores over the 1 year suggests that RNA degradation was inhibited though incompletely. Nevertheless, RT-PCR studies on lyophilized tissue performed similarly to frozen tissue. In contrast to FFPE tissues where protein bands were absent or shifted to a lower molecular weight, lyophilized samples showed similar protein bands as frozen tissue on SDS-PAGE analysis. Lyophilized tissue performed similarly to frozen tissue for Western blots and enzyme activity assays. Immunohistochemistry of lyophilized tissue that were processed into FFPE blocks often required longer incubation times for staining than standard FFPE samples but generally provided robust antigen detection. This preliminary study suggests that lyophilization has promise for long-term room temperature storage while permitting varied tests; however, further work is required to better stabilize nucleic acids particularly RNA.