Biospecimens are often collected from consenting patients and stored in biobanks in Australia or overseas. The biospecimens are for future extended translational research related to cancer. New studies arise as novel technologies and scientific knowledge develop. These studies must have the approval of a human research ethics committee. Some studies occur years after a clinical trial has closed.

Types of samples in biobanks

Tissue may be collected during biopsy, fine-needle aspirate procedures or surgery. The tissue may be processed and stored as: formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded blocks or slides, as fresh-frozen material ('snap frozen' in liquid nitrogen) or using other preservation methods.

Blood may be processed for components including serum, plasma, buffy coat, circulating tumour cells, circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) and other derivatives.