A tumor is a complex organ consisting of many cell types. Localization of gene expression alteration to specific cell types provides the first link to cellular function. The pursuit of personalized medicine through technologies like microarrays and next-generation sequencing has generated a wealth of novel biomarkers, which promise to improve cancer diagnosis and patient stratification. However, for many of these biomarkers, we do not know which of the cell types in the tumor expresses them. This limits our ability to fully understand their biological relevance. Furthermore, clinically relevant changes in gene expression in specific cell types may be lost in RNA extraction-based methods such as microarrays and RT-PCR.
RNAscope®’s single-molecule sensitivity for detecting RNA while preserving tissue context with single-cell resolution makes it easy to pinpoint which biomarker is expressed in which cells, all at the convenience of a conventional brightfield or standard fluorescence microscope. Direct visualization of gene expression at the RNA level in single cells can provide unique insight into the interplay between cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment during cancer progression. Thus, RNAscope® can serve as a powerful alternative to immunohistochemistry (IHC), filling the long-standing gap in in situ detection of RNA.
In addition to cancer tissue analysis, RNAscope® is poised to contribute to the emerging field of circulating tumor cells (CTCs), which have been dubbed a noninvasive “liquid biopsy” for many solid tumors. The unprecedented high-fidelity signal amplification and multiplexing capability of RNAscope® make it possible to simultaneously detect and characterize CTCs in the background of millions of blood cells. The minimal need for CTC enrichment allows the unbiased detection of the highly heterogeneous CTCs present even within the same patient sample. Since RNA is rapidly lost in apoptotic and dead cells, RNAscope® has the unique discriminatory ability to detect only viable CTCs, which are likely to be a more relevant indicator of disease progression during patient follow-up.
RNAscope® joins IHC and DNA FISH to complete the in situ tool set for cancer researchers to discover, develop and implement a new generation of tissue- and cell-based diagnostics, which will be integral to the promise of personalized medicine.
- RNAscope® HD Single-plex
- RNAscope® Chromogenic Duplex
Related gene target(s):
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Payne RE. et al. Viable circulating tumour cell detection using multiplex RNA in situ hybridisation predicts progression-free survival in metastatic breast cancer patients. Br J Cancer. 2012 May 22; 1–8. doi:10.1038/bjc.2012.137. Epub 2012 Apr 26. PMID: 22538972
Bordeaux JM. et al. Quantitative In Situ Measurement of Estrogen Receptor mRNA Predicts Response to Tamoxifen. PLoS ONE. 2012; 7(5), e36559. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036559. Epub 2012 May 11. PMID: 2260627