Enhancing Tumor Content through Tumor Macrodissection

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The presence of contaminating non-tumor tissues in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues can greatly undermine genomic studies. Herein we describe macrodissection, a method designed to augment the percentage tumor content of a tissue specimen by removing and eliminating unwanted tissue prior to performing downstream nucleic acid extractions. FFPE tissue blocks were sectioned to produce 4-5 µm slide-mounted tissue sections. A representative section was submitted for hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining and subsequently reviewed by a board-certified pathologist. During the review, the pathologist identified and marked the regions of tumor tissue in the H&E. Once complete, the demarked H&E was used to guide resection of the serial unstained sections from the same tissue block. To demonstrate the effects of macrodissection, RNA extracted from matched macrodissected and non-dissected Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphomas (DLBCL) were run on a digital gene expression assay capable of determining DLBCL subtype and BCL2 translocation status. The results showed that macrodissection changed the subtype or BCL2 translocation status calls in 60% of the samples examined. In conclusion, macrodissection is a simple and effective method for performing tumor enrichment prior to nucleic acid extractions, the product of which can then be confidently used in downstream genomic studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere62961
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number180
StatePublished - Feb 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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