TOC mission

Biological sample banks should be considered as a critical cornerstone and engine for the translational and clinical research. New technological achievements have created the opportunities for all cancer research sectors to utilize tissues and data for both hypothesis generation and testing. TOC mission is to create the infrastructure for a multicentric, prospective and systematic bank for biological samples, which provides a source for materials and date for translational research, outcome assessment and education.

“Tumor bank Ovarian Cancer” (TOC) was initiated in the year 2000 and extended in January 2004 to a multicentric setting. Currently, thirteen University hospitals and clinics within Europe, are involved in this international project. Each participating center uses the same SOPs for prospective collection of fresh frozen or paraffin embedded tumor tissue, blood, serum and ascites samples from ovarian cancer patients. TOC took the lead on biobanking in several European projects, such as OVCAD, OCTIPS and Gannet53.

Up to now, more than 5000 patients with ovarian cancer have been included within the TOC network. Patients received a state-of-the-art treatment and clinical management. Follow up data are available, and are up-dated periodic. Multiple tissue biopsies, from primary and metastatic sites are available, as also liquid biopsies from same patients. This makes TOC the largest academic European tissue bank for ovarian cancer.

*Intraoperative mapping of ovarian cancer

For a better assessment of tumor spread, characteristics of peritoneal carcinomatosis, volume of ascites, residual tumor mass diameter and localization a prospective approach will be achieved, by using the so called intraoperative mapping of ovarian cancer ‘IMO’ (Sehouli et al. 2003). (Fig.) The data will be documented prospectively through a short interview with the surgeon immediately after the surgical procedure.

The collection of biological materials from patients with ovarian cancer and further processing of samples will be performed according to the defined SOP. Centers can participate in different modalities to the success of the TOC network: paraffin embedded or fresh frozen or blood samples might be provided. Storage can be performed centralized at Charité, or as a virtual biobank. Centralized pathological review is available at Charité Institue for Pathology.

The documentation of all relevant parameters are performed prospectively according to the defined SOPs and using an electronic central database in an anonymous fashion. Data are recorded in the individual sites by means of this electronic documentation system according to GCP guidelines (Good Clinical Practice). A regular update of the clinical data will be performed, to make sure that the data are complete and optimal for statistical analysis.

The biological samples are available for all partners, as also to other academic institutions. The decision to access the bank for biological samples will be approved by the project leader together with the internal scientific committee on accordance with mission statement. The release of samples and clinical data will be made only within anonymised cohorts, with strictly defined information to provide confidentiality.