Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue samples provide a valuable source of stable nucleic acids for gene expression analysis. The clinical utility of FFPE samples is substantial, where retrospective analysis of archival tissue enables the correlation of molecular findings with the response to treatment and the clinical outcome.

Which DNA extraction kit from FFPE samples is right for you?

  Easy to use HTP or manual Complete kit, HTP compatible
Recommendation Top Seller  
Prep time 2 hours 3 hours
(for 96 preps)
3 hours
(for 96 preps)
Final product extracted gDNA, total RNA, microRNA gDNA, total RNA, microRNA total DNA
Requires organic solvent (xylene) for deparaffinization yes    
High throughput compatible   yes yes
Compatible FFPE sample range up to 4 x 20 micron sections 2 x 10 micron sections 2 x 10 micron sections
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Why is nucleic acid isolation from FFPE samples such a challenge?

The fixation process causes cross-linkage between nucleic acids and proteins, and covalently modifies adenine and cytidine by the addition of monomethyl groups to the bases. As a result, the molecules are rigid and susceptible to mechanical shearing. Therefore, in order to utilize FFPE tissues as a source for DNA, a reliable method is required for its extraction from the cross-linked matrix.

How can you increase your chances of success with FFPE samples?

There are a number of factors that can impact the overall quality and yield of DNA isolated from FFPE tissues. Here are recommendations to address several key factors:

  1. Upstream tissue procurement and tissue specimen preparation—if possible, tissues should be fixed within one hour of surgical resection. The optimal fixation time is 12–24 hours, using neutral-buffered formalin or paraformaldehyde. Fixed tissues should be thoroughly dehydrated prior to the embedding process.
  2. Block storage—storage of blocks without cut faces, when possible, prevents ongoing damage from exposure to atmospheric oxygen, water, and other environmental factors such as light and infestation (fungus, insects, etc.).
  3. Tissue type, size, and amount being used for RNA isolation—the recommended tissue thickness is 10–20 µm The number of sections used is determined by the tissue type (which impacts cell density) and surface area (recommended size: 50–300 mm2). Excess starting material can cause filter clogging, resulting in poor yield.
  4. Excessive amount of paraffin used for embedding tissues—when possible, excess paraffin should be trimmed away prior to starting the purification protocol. For xylene-based purification methods, two xylene treatments at room temperature should be sufficient for complete deparaffinization. If desired, a more rigorous 37–55°C treatment can be performed for up to 30 minutes. After the xylene deparaffinization, it is crucial that the 100% ethanol is completely removed and the pellets are dry after the two 100% ethanol washes. The magnetic bead method employs novel chemistries to deal with the paraffin that limits input to 20 µm sections.

The MagMAX™ FFPE Nucleic Acid (NA) isolation kits are designed for rapid, efficient, and automatable isolation of total RNA and DNA from FFPE samples using MagMAX™ magnetic particles. MagMAX™ FFPE NA kits offer faster workflows and use less toxic reagents, without sacrificing quality in the process. These kits help deliver nucleic acid yield and purity comparable to the best-in-class RecoverAll™ filter-based system. The MagMAX™ FFPE NA kits outperform products with similar protocols, and achieve RNA and DNA yields that are comparable with longer, more hazardous, and lower-throughput protocols.

Sku Name Size Price Qty
4463365 MagMAX™ FFPE Total Nucleic Acid Isolation Kit 96 preps USD 690.00
4463578 MagMAX™ FFPE DNA Isolation Kit 96 preps USD 491.00

The RecoverAll™ Total Nucleic Acid Isolation Kit procedure requires about 45 minutes of hands-on time. FFPE samples are deparaffinized using a series of xylene and ethanol washes. Next, they are subjected to a rigorous protease digestion with an incubation time tailored for recovery of either RNA or DNA. The nucleic acids are purified using a rapid glass-filter methodology that includes an on-filter nuclease treatment, and are eluted into either water or the low-salt buffer provided.

Sku Name Size Price Qty
AM1975 RecoverAll™ Total Nucleic Acid Isolation Kit for FFPE 40 preps USD 310.00