Influence of temperature during transportation on cell-free DNA analysis

Mats Hidestrand, Renee Stokowski, Ken Song, Arnold Oliphant, Julie Deavers, Mary Goetsch, Pippa Simpson, Randall Kuhlman, Mary Ames, Michael Mitchell, Aoy Tomita-Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the effect of shipping blood in Streck blood collection tubes (BCT) prior to processing on cell-free DNA (cf-DNA) levels. Methods: Blood was collected in ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) and BCT tubes from 10 pregnant women carrying male fetuses. One set of each tube for each subject was processed to plasma immediately (standard cf-DNA protocol), whereas the other set was shipped by air courier and then processed. DNA was extracted and total and fetal DNA concentrations were measured by TaqMan multiplexed quantitative real-time PCR. Results: No significant difference was observed in total cf-DNA in plasma between immediately processed EDTA (control) and immediately processed BCT samples. Moreover, no significant change in total cf-DNA was detected in plasma of BCT samples shipped at room temperature. Significant differences in total cf-DNA leading to a significantly decreased fetal fraction were found in shipped EDTA samples and BCT samples shipped at 4°C. Discussion: BCT tubes are suitable for shipping whole blood prior to processing with respect to cf-DNA levels. However, care should be taken to ensure that samples are not exposed to extreme temperatures during shipment. This finding will benefit the development and clinical application of noninvasive methods of fetal diagnosis that utilize cf-DNA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-128
Number of pages7
JournalFetal Diagnosis and Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell-free DNA
  • Shipping whole blood
  • Streck blood collection tubes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Embryology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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