PTEN mRNA detection by chromogenic, RNA in situ technologies: a reliable alternative to PTEN immunohistochemistry

Immunohistochemical staining for phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) does not have either an acceptable standard protocol or concordance of scoring between pathologists. Evaluation of PTEN mRNA with a unique and verified sequence probe may offer a realistic alternative providing a robust and reproducible protocol.

In this study, we have evaluated an in situ hybridization (ISH) protocol for PTEN mRNA using RNAScope technology and compared it with a standard protocol for PTEN immunohistochemistry (IHC). PTEN mRNA expression by ISH was consistently more sensitive than PTEN IHC, with 56% of samples on a mixed-tumor tissue microarray (TMA) showing high expression by ISH compared with 42% by IHC. On a prostate TMA, 49% of cases showed high expression by ISH compared with 43% by IHC. Variations in PTEN mRNA expression within malignant epithelium were quantifiable using image analysis on the prostate TMAs. Within tumors, clear overexpression of PTEN mRNA on malignant epithelium compared with benign epithelium was frequently observed and quantified. The use of SpotStudio software in the mixed-tumor TMA allowed for clear demonstration of varying levels of PTEN mRNA between tumor samples by the mRNA methodology. This was evident by the quantifiable differences between distinct oropharyngeal tumors (up to 3-fold increase in average number of spots per cell between 2 cases). mRNA detection of PTEN or other biomarkers, for which optimal or standardized immunohistochemical techniques are not available, represents a means by which heterogeneity of expression within focal regions of tumor can be explored with more confidence.

Human pathology. 2015 Sep 25 [Epub ahead of print]

Victoria Bingham, Chee Wee Ong, Jacqueline James, Pamela Maxwell, David Waugh, Manuel Salto-Tellez, Stephen McQuaid

Molecular Pathology Programme, Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, Queen's University, Belfast, UK BT9 7AE. , Prostate Cancer Research Group, Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, Queen's University, Belfast, UK BT9 7AE. , Molecular Pathology Programme, Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, Queen's University, Belfast, UK BT9 7AE; Tissue Pathology, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Belfast City Hospital, Lisburn Rd BT9 7AB. , Prostate Cancer Research Group, Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, Queen's University, Belfast, UK BT9 7AE. , Prostate Cancer Research Group, Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, Queen's University, Belfast, UK BT9 7AE. , Molecular Pathology Programme, Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, Queen's University, Belfast, UK BT9 7AE; Tissue Pathology, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Belfast City Hospital, Lisburn Rd BT9 7AB. , Molecular Pathology Programme, Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, Queen's University, Belfast, UK BT9 7AE; Tissue Pathology, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Belfast City Hospital, Lisburn Rd BT9 7AB. 

PubMed

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