The preservation of nucleic acids from clinical samples is critical to facilitate accurate molecular diagnosis. The use of a paper matrix, Flinders Technology Associates (FTA) Elute cards, to archive DNA and viral RNA is well-documented. However, the feasibility of FTA Elute cards for archiving serum and serum exosomal microRNAs (miRNAs) remains unclear.
Here, researchers from A*STAR Singapore performed a comprehensive evaluation of FTA Elute cards for miRNA storage and recovery in different pre-analytical conditions. The recovery of serum miRNA dry-spotted on FTA Elute cards by direct elution with water at high temperature was poor. However, serum miRNAs dry-spotted on the cards were isolated with about 40% yield when using QIAzol lysis reagent and recovery was improved remarkably (>80%) upon extraction from cards pre-treated with trehalose. miRNAs stored on the cards remained stable at room temperature and can be kept for prolonged periods. Furthermore, miRNAs could be similarly recovered from serum exosomes dry-spotted on the cards. Importantly, when using sera from gastric cancer (GC) patients, the miRNAs were efficiently recovered from trehalose pre-treated cards without affecting their representation. Collectively, the researchers have demonstrated the potential of FTA Elute cards to archive serum and serum exosomal miRNAs, making it useful for biomarker discovery and diagnostics.