Questions to consider: diseased tissue or blood samples:
- Which stage(s) do you require? Is there any flexibility?
For example, late stage cancer donors (stage IV) may be less likely to be operated on and are more likely to have received treatment prior to surgery. Stage IV cancer patients may also be less well able to provide blood for research, so approval may not be given for a study, or for smaller volumes. Healthy donors may be able to give 40ml or even 500ml; a patient often only 10ml.
If you require large cancer samples, deceased donor specimens, where large tumor samples are available from donors where the cancer was the cause of death, may be a better option. The amount of tumor is extensive, metastases can also be collected if requested, and there is no need to spare normal tissue, or to retain tumor for diagnosis.
- Pre-treated or treatment naïve? Early stage cancer donors are more likely to present in Western countries, and surgeries are more likely to be performed treatment-naïve. Pre-treated patients’ cancer samples may have large areas of necrosis. Do you need to place limits on this?
Deceased donors will often have received treatment, although usually not within approximately 2 months of passing. The large amounts of tumor available may compensate for lower cell viability or high necrosis levels.
- Do you need a particular % tumor? Or limits re. the % necrosis? Please let us know. Clinical tissue samples can be assessed by a pathologist to check they meet your requirements
- Do you have any limits re. treatments, or comorbidities?
- How much data do you need? Do you require biomarker data? Do certain biomarkers need to be present, or do you just need to know whether they have been assessed? What is your timeframe? For examples, PSA readings may not have been taken on the day of surgery, or for some time before.