DNA fragmentation simulation method (FSM) and fragment size matching improve aCGH performance of FFPE tissues

Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 06/2012; 7(6):e38881. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038881
Source: PubMed


Whole-genome copy number analysis platforms, such as array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays, are transformative research discovery tools. In cancer, the identification of genomic aberrations with these approaches has generated important diagnostic and prognostic markers, and critical therapeutic targets. While robust for basic research studies, reliable whole-genome copy number analysis has been unsuccessful in routine clinical practice due to a number of technical limitations. Most important, aCGH results have been suboptimal because of the poor integrity of DNA derived from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues. Using self-hybridizations of a single DNA sample we observed that aCGH performance is significantly improved by accurate DNA size determination and the matching of test and reference DNA samples so that both possess similar fragment sizes. Based on this observation, we developed a novel DNA fragmentation simulation method (FSM) that allows customized tailoring of the fragment sizes of test and reference samples, thereby lowering array failure rates. To validate our methods, we combined FSM with Universal Linkage System (ULS) labeling to study a cohort of 200 tumor samples using Agilent 1 M feature arrays. Results from FFPE samples were equivalent to results from fresh samples and those available through the glioblastoma Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). This study demonstrates that rigorous control of DNA fragment size improves aCGH performance. This methodological advance will permit the routine analysis of FFPE tumor samples for clinical trials and in daily clinical practice.

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