Human formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues: An untapped specimen for biomonitoring of carcinogen DNA adducts by mass spectrometry

Byeong Hwa Yun, Thomas A. Rosenquist, Jovan Nikolić, Dejan Dragičević, Karla Tomić, Bojan Jelaković, Kathleen G. Dickman, Arthur P. Grollman, Robert J. Turesky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


DNA adducts represent internal dosimeters to measure exposure to environmental and endogenous genotoxicants. Unfortunately, in molecular epidemiologic studies, measurements of DNA adducts often are precluded by the unavailability of fresh tissue. In contrast, formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissues frequently are accessible for biomarker discovery. We report here that DNA adducts of aristolochic acids (AAs) can be measured in FFPE tissues at a level of sensitivity comparable to freshly frozen tissue. AAs are nephrotoxic and carcinogenic compounds found in Aristolochia herbaceous plants, many of which have been used worldwide for medicinal purposes. AAs are implicated in the etiology of aristolochic acid nephropathy and upper urinary tract carcinoma. 8-Methoxy-6-nitrophenanthro-[3,4-d]-1,3-dioxole-5-carboxylic acid (AA-I) is a component of Aristolochia herbs and a potent human urothelial carcinogen. AA-I reacts with DNA to form the aristolactam (AL-I)-DNA adduct 7-(deoxyadenosin- N6-yl) aristolactam I (dA-AL-I). We established a method to quantitatively retrieve dA-AL-I from FFPE tissue. Adducts were measured, using ultraperformance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry, in liver and kidney tissues of mice exposed to AA-I, at doses ranging from 0.001 to 1 mg/kg body weight. dA-AL-I was then measured in 10-μm thick tissue-sections of FFPE kidney from patients with upper urinary tract cancers; the values were comparable to those observed in fresh frozen samples. The limit of quantification of dA-AL-I was 3 adducts per 109 DNA bases per 2.5 μg of DNA. The ability to retrospectively analyze FFPE tissues for DNA adducts may provide clues to the origin of human cancers for which an environmental cause is suspected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4251-4258
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 7 2013

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Human formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues: An untapped specimen for biomonitoring of carcinogen DNA adducts by mass spectrometry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this