Use of archival tissue in epidemiologic studies: Collection procedures and assessment of potential sources of bias

Martha L. Slattery, Sandra L. Edwards, Leslie Palmer, Karen Curtin, Judy Morse, Kristin Anderson, Wade Samowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Collection and analyses of archival tumor tissue as a means to increase our understanding of disease pathways is becoming an important avenue of epidemiologic research. In this paper, we present methods of collection and processing of archival tissue and assess the population characteristics of those for whom we were able to and unable to obtain tumor DNA. Cases of colon cancer diagnosed between September, 1991 and October, 1994 living in Utah, Northern California, or the Twin Cities Metropolitan area of Minnesota were targeted for this study. Of the 2477 people for whom we had permission to obtain tumor blocks, we were able to collect blocks and extract DNA for 2117 (85.5%). There were no differences in age, tumor site, or diet and lifestyle characteristics between those with and without DNA extracted. However, we were less likely to be able to extract DNA if the case was diagnosed at a more advanced disease stage or at the earliest disease. Potential bias from exclusion of those with the most advanced disease stage is discussed. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-14
Number of pages8
JournalMutation Research - Mutation Research Genomics
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 2000
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by grants CA48998 and CA61757. We acknowledge the support of the Utah Cancer Registry, the Northern California Cancer Registry, the Sacramento Cancer Registry, and the Minnesota Cancer Surveillance Program. Additionally, we would like to acknowledge the contributions to the study by Dr. Bette Caan, Dr. John Potter, and Judy Punko. The contents of this manuscript are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of the National Cancer Institute.


  • Biomarkers
  • Colon cancer
  • Methods
  • Tumor tissue


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