Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues-an untapped biospecimen for biomonitoring DNA adducts by mass spectrometry

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Scopus citations


The measurement of DNA adducts provides important information about human exposure to genotoxic chemicals and can be employed to elucidate mechanisms of DNA damage and repair. DNA adducts can serve as biomarkers for interspecies comparisons of the biologically effective dose of procarcinogens and permit extrapolation of genotoxicity data from animal studies for human risk assessment. One major challenge in DNA adduct biomarker research is the paucity of fresh frozen biopsy samples available for study. However, archived formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues with clinical diagnosis of disease are often available. We have established robust methods to recover DNA free of crosslinks from FFPE tissues under mild conditions which permit quantitative measurements of DNA adducts by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. The technology is versatile and can be employed to screen for DNA adducts formed with a wide range of environmental and dietary carcinogens, some of which were retrieved from section-cuts of FFPE blocks stored at ambient temperature for up to nine years. The ability to retrospectively analyze FFPE tissues for DNA adducts for which there is clinical diagnosis of disease opens a previously untapped source of biospecimens for molecular epidemiology studies that seek to assess the causal role of environmental chemicals in cancer etiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number30
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018



  • Biomarker
  • Biomonitoring
  • Carcinogen
  • DNA adducts
  • Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues
  • Mass spectrometry

Cite this