Quantitative Proteomic Analysis of Optimal Cutting Temperature (OCT) Embedded Core-Needle Biopsy of Lung Cancer

Xiaozheng Zhao, Kenneth E. Huffman, Junya Fujimoto, Jamie Rodriguez Canales, Luc Girard, Guangjun Nie, John V. Heymach, Igacio I. Wistuba, John D. Minna, Yonghao Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


With recent advances in understanding the genomic underpinnings and oncogenic drivers of pathogenesis in different subtypes, it is increasingly clear that proper pretreatment diagnostics are essential for the choice of appropriate treatment options for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Tumor tissue preservation in optimal cutting temperature (OCT) compound is commonly used in the surgical suite. However, proteins recovered from OCT-embedded specimens pose a challenge for LC-MS/MS experiments, due to the large amounts of polymers present in OCT. Here we present a simple workflow for whole proteome analysis of OCT-embedded NSCLC tissue samples, which involves a simple trichloroacetic acid precipitation step. Comparisons of protein recovery between frozen versus OCT-embedded tissue showed excellent consistency with more than 9200 proteins identified. Using an isobaric labeling strategy, we quantified more than 5400 proteins in tumor versus normal OCT-embedded core needle biopsy samples. Gene ontology analysis indicated that a number of proliferative as well as squamous cell carcinoma (SqCC) marker proteins were overexpressed in the tumor, consistent with the patient’s pathology based diagnosis of “poorly differentiated SqCC”. Among the most downregulated proteins in the tumor sample, we noted a number of proteins with potential immunomodulatory functions. Finally, interrogation of the aberrantly expressed proteins using a candidate approach and cross-referencing with publicly available databases led to the identification of potential druggable targets in DNA replication and DNA damage repair pathways. We conclude that our approach allows LC-MS/MS proteomic analyses on OCT-embedded lung cancer specimens, opening the way to bring powerful proteomics into the clinic. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2078-2089
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017


  • Biomarker
  • Drug target
  • Lung cancer
  • Pathology
  • Proteomics
  • Sample preparation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Spectroscopy


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