Transcriptome-Wide Gene Expression Profiles from FFPE Materials Based on a Nuclease Protection Assay Reveals Significantly Different Patterns between Synovial Sarcomas and Morphologic Mimickers

Borchert, Sabrina; Herold, Thomas; Kalbourtzis, Stavros;
Hamacher, Rainer; Krause, Yvonne; Berger, Sophia; Guder, Wiebke K.;
Streitbuerger, Arne;
Hardes, Jendrik; Goetz, Moritz; Bauer, Sebastian;
Department of Medical Oncology, Sarcoma Center, West German Cancer Center, University Hospital Essen, D-45147 Essen, Germany
Schildhaus, Hans-Ulrich

Background: Transcriptome profiling provides large data on tumor biology, which is particularly valuable in translational research and is becoming more and more important for clinical decision-making as well. RNA sequencing is considered to be the gold standard for this. However, FFPE material, as the most available material in routine pathology, has been an undefeatable obstacle for RNAseq. Extraction-free nuclease protection assays have the potential to be a reliable alternative method for large-scale expression profiling. The aim of this study was to validate and test the basic feasibility, technical applicability robustness, and reliability of the HTG transcriptome profiling (HTP) assay on clinical tumor samples.

Methods: FFPE samples from 44 synovial sarcomas (SyS) and 20 spindle cell sarcomas (SpcS) were used. The HTP assay was performed on 10 µm thin FFPE slides. After nuclease protection in the HTG Edge Seq System, libraries were generated for sequencing on an Illumina NextSeq 500 platform. Fastq data were parsed and then analyzed by using the HTG analysis platform EdgeSeq REVEAL. Immunohistochemistry was performed to validate the expression of TLE1.

Results: The technical application of the HTP Panel revealed robust and reliable results with 62 samples, and only 2 samples failed due to an incomplete digestion of gDNA. The analysis, performed at the analysis platform REVEAL, showed 5964 genes being significantly differentially expressed between SpcS and SyS. In particular, overexpression of the known marker TLE1 in synovial sarcoma could be recovered, which underlines the reliability of this system. Discussion: Transcriptome profiling gets more and more important for tumor research and diagnostics. Among other established technologies, the HTP Panel has shown to be a feasible method to get robust and reliable results. Thereby, this method needs very few sample-input by getting a success-rate of 96.88%, which indicates the upper average range, compared to other technologies working with FFPE tissue.

Conclusion: The nuclease protection assay-based HTP Panel is a feasible method for adequate transcriptome profiling with low sample input and therefore is suitable for further research of biomarkers.



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