Rapid Loss of RNA Detection by In Situ Hybridization in Stored Tissue Blocks and Preservation by Cold Storage of Unstained Slides


Objectives: Recent commercialization of methods for in situ hybridization using Z-pair probe/branched DNA amplification has led to increasing adoption of this technology for interrogating RNA expression in formalin- fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues. Current practice for FFPE block storage is to maintain them at room temperature, often for many years. Methods: To examine the effects of block storage time on FFPE tissues using a number of RNA in situ probes with the Advanced Cellular Diagnostic’s RNAscope assay. Results: We report marked reductions in signals after 5 years and significant reductions often after 1 year. Furthermore, storing unstained slides cut from recent cases (textless1 year old) at -20 degrees C can preserve hybridization signals significantly better than storing the blocks at room temperature and cutting the slides fresh when needed. Conclusions: We submit that the standard practice of storing FFPE tissue blocks at room temperature should be reevaluated to better preserve RNA for in situ hybridization.

Am J Clin Pathol
Toby C. Cornish
Toby C. Cornish
Professor of Pathology and Biomedical Informatics

Clinical informaticist, gastrointestinal pathologist, and researcher.