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Developing a pan-cancer research autopsy programme


AIMS: Rapid procurement of a wide variety of metastatic and primary cancers and normal tissues after death through rapid autopsy opens largely unexplored avenues in cancer research. We describe a high-volume rapid research autopsy programme at a large academic medical centre. METHODS: Advanced-stage cancer patients, most commonly inpatients in palliative care facilities, were approached to participate in a cancer research autopsy programme with the goal of acquiring multidimensionally annotated tissue for cancer research. On death of an enrolled patient, a predetermined notification plan was enacted, with the medical oncologist/clinical research coordinator informing a team of pathologists, researchers and allied staff. Quality assurance metrics were measured. Thereafter, tissues were annotated in a tissue bioinformatics database and linked to electronic patient records. All banked tissues were reviewed for tumour integrity, including DNA and RNA quality. RESULTS: Over 100 rapid research autopsies from diverse cancer sites were performed, and specimens were procured and annotated with detailed clinical information, including treatment and response. Tissues were successfully enabling studies of tumour immunology, xenografts, genomics and proteomics. CONCLUSIONS: Large-scale rapid procurement and biobanking of cancer tissues from a rapid autopsy programme is feasible. Multidisciplinary integration between health and administrative staff from medical oncology, palliative care, pathology and biospecimen sciences is critical for the success of this challenging endeavour.

Type Journal
ISBN 0021-9746
Authors Bavi, P.; Siva, M.; Abi-Saab, T.; Chadwick, D.; Dhani, N.; Butany, J.; Joshua, A. M.; Roehrl, M. H.
Responsible Garvan Author Prof Anthony Joshua
Published Date 2019-10-31
Published Volume 72
Published Issue 10
Published Pages 689-695
Status Published in-print
DOI 10.1136/jclinpath-2019-205874
URL link to publisher's version