Laser-assisted microdissection in translational research: Theory, technical considerations, and future applications

Liang Cheng, Shaobo Zhang, Gregory T. MacLennan, Sean R. Williamson, Darrell D. Davidson, Mingsheng Wang, Timothy D. Jones, Antonio Lopez-Beltran, Rodolfo Montironi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

50 Scopus citations


Molecular profiling already exerts a profound influence on biomedical research and disease management. Microdissection technologies contribute to the molecular profiling of diseases, enabling investigators to probe genetic characteristics and dissect functional physiology within specific cell populations. Laser-capture microdissection (LCM), in particular, permits collation of genetic, epigenetic, and gene expression differences between normal, premalignant, and malignant cell populations. Its selectivity for specific cell populations promises to greatly improve the diagnosis and management of many human diseases. LCM has been extensively used in cancer research, contributing to the understanding of tumor biology by mutation detection, clonality analysis, epigenetic alteration assessment, gene expression profiling, proteomics, and metabolomics. In this review, we focus on LCM applications for DNA, RNA, and protein analysis in specific cell types and on commercially available LCM platforms. These analyses could clinically be used as aids to cancer diagnosis, clinical management, genomic profile studies, and targeted therapy. In this review, we also discuss the technical details of tissue preparation, analytical yields, tissue selection, and selected applications using LCM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-47
Number of pages17
JournalApplied Immunohistochemistry and Molecular Morphology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


  • cancer heterogeneity
  • carcinogenesis
  • gene expression profiling
  • genome characterization/alteration
  • laser-capture microdissection
  • personalized medicine
  • proteomics
  • targeted therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Histology

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