Proper biospecimen handling is the first essential
element in the drive toward personalized medicine for
cancer. The molecular changes trapped in cancer
biospecimens provide insightful clues about what
went wrong in a patient's cells. It is critically important
to understand how to collect cancer biospecimens
properly, so that the information obtained from
analyses, using approaches such as genome-wide
profiling, are correct and not artifacts of mishandling.
Last updated 11/3/2009 National Cancer Institute 1
Get Patient Consent
Health professionals explain to the patient
that their tissue donation is very important to
accelerating progress in cancer research.
When permission is given, the consent form is
archived carefully and uniquely linked to the
Last updated 11/3/2009 National Cancer Institute 2
Procure and Stabilize Sample
A biospecimen is removed from the patient, taking
great care to keep the sample biologically viable.
Last updated 11/3/2009 National Cancer Institute 3
Attach unique identifier
A unique identifier is associated with the
biospecimen. Unique identifiers link the tissue sample
with its relevant annotated records, so future results
from studies using this sample can again be
associated with the original patient donor.
Last updated 11/3/2009 National Cancer Institute 4
A biospecimen is carefully stored in a location that
monitors temperature and conditions to properly
support the integrity of the tissue.
Last updated 11/3/2009 National Cancer Institute 5
Retrieve and re-store carefully
When needed for analysis, a biospecimen is carefully
retrieved, and if any sample remains afterward, it is
re-stored with care.
Last updated 11/3/2009 National Cancer Institute 6
Check out best practices By properly labeling the
tissue sample, fully recording discoveries associated
with the tissue, and following the National Cancer
Institute’s best practices guidelines for handling the
material, health professionals can ensure that a
cancer biospecimen is of the highest quality when it is
used for genome-wide profiling or other research
studies.For more details on the best practices in
biospecimen collection please see:
Last updated 11/3/2009 National Cancer Institute 7