Optimized Protocol for Quantitative Multiple Reaction Monitoring-Based Proteomic Analysis of Formalin-Fixed, Paraffin-Embedded Tissues.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal of proteome research, Volume 15, Issue 8, p.2717-2728 (2016)


Experimental Histopathology Core Facility, NWBiotrust Core Facility


Despite a clinical, economic, and regulatory imperative to develop companion diagnostics, precious few new biomarkers have been successfully translated into clinical use, due in part to inadequate protein assay technologies to support large-scale testing of hundreds of candidate biomarkers in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues. Although the feasibility of using targeted, multiple reaction monitoring mass spectrometry (MRM-MS) for quantitative analyses of FFPE tissues has been demonstrated, protocols have not been systematically optimized for robust quantification across a large number of analytes, nor has the performance of peptide immuno-MRM been evaluated. To address this gap, we used a test battery approach coupled to MRM-MS with the addition of stable isotope-labeled standard peptides (targeting 512 analytes) to quantitatively evaluate the performance of three extraction protocols in combination with three trypsin digestion protocols (i.e., nine processes). A process based on RapiGest buffer extraction and urea-based digestion was identified to enable similar quantitation results from FFPE and frozen tissues. Using the optimized protocols for MRM-based analysis of FFPE tissues, median precision was 11.4% (across 249 analytes). There was excellent correlation between measurements made on matched FFPE and frozen tissues, both for direct MRM analysis (R(2) = 0.94) and immuno-MRM (R(2) = 0.89). The optimized process enables highly reproducible, multiplex, standardizable, quantitative MRM in archival tissue specimens.