Biobanking procedures used for examining and sampling breast and colorectal cancer specimens are in accordance with NCI guidelines and ISBER Best Practices. These have been contributed to the NCI OBBR website. SOPs are being updated. A brief summary follows below.

Breast: Separate SOP for lumpectomy and mastectomy specmens. Specimens are examined by a pathologist or specialist registrar, and appropriately inked. Tumour size is measured, distances to margins are measured and the specimen is sliced. A sample of cancer and normal tissue is taken by the pathologist. The biobank scientist aliquots it into cryomolds and tubes for snap freezing. If there is sufficient tissue, a block is taken for formalin fixation.

Colon: The specimen is opened and lumen is emptied. Tumour samples are taken from the edge of the tumour within the lumen. Normal mucosal samples are also taken. The biobank scientist aliquots material as in breast cancer cases.

The patient’s sample and data details are coded and entered in the database. Pathology minimum data sets, including ER, PR, Her2, Ras, mismatch repair protein details etc, are entered in the database after the pathology report on the specimen has been issued.

Standardised technical procedures and informatics will be used across the completed network’s hospitals.