Scientific Impact

In 2000-2007 the NCTN Banks collected more than 807,767 solid tumor biospecimens, over 143,047 serum biospecimens, and nearly 49,491 leukemia biospecimens. During this same time period, the banks distributed more than 720,172 solid tumor biospecimens, over 38,663 serum biospecimens, and nearly 28,728 leukemia biospecimens to approximately 2,000 investigators. From 2000-2008, over 1,350 peer-reviewed scientific publications and 36 patents have resulted from the use of NCTN Banks biospecimens. Three hundred and fifty two of the publications appeared in journals with an impact factor >10. Selected publications resulting from research with NCTN Banks biospecimens can be found here.

While the list of important scientific contribution is too large to detail here, a few examples illustrating the usefulness of the NCTN Banks resources are included below.

NSABP, now part of NRG Oncology, biospecimens were used to develop the OncotypeDx™ test (Paik S et al, NEJM 2004, Sparano JA et al, JCO 2008), a 21-gene multi-gene assay that predicts the likelihood of recurrence in women with early stage invasive breast cancer and assists patient and physician with the decision whether to use chemotherapy in addition to endocrine adjuvant therapy. Formerly, at least 90% of stage I breast cancer patients would have received chemotherapy, many of them unnecessarily. The test is now covered by most insurance companies in the United States and tens of thousands of tests have been performed. An NCI supported trial designed to confirm the clinical utility of OncotypeDx™, Trial Assigning Individualized Options for Treatment (TAILORx), recently completed accrual. A SWOG trial is planned to test whether OncotypeDxTM can determine the need for chemotherapy in women with node positive breast cancer.

Colon cancer biospecimens from several NCTN Banks were used to test for K-ras mutation status which predicted benefit from treatment with anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (anti-EGFR) antibodies in advanced colorectal cancer (Karapetis CS et al, NEJM 2008). As a result, K-ras mutational status is now assessed before treatment with these agents in clinical practice.

CALGB, now part of Alliance, biospecimens helped to identify a microRNA signature associated with event-free survival in acute myeloid leukemia (Marcucci et al, NEJM 2008).

SWOG biospecimens contributed to better predicting disease severity in early stage multiple myeloma (Barlogie et al. Blood 2008). Molecular markers have been incorporated into prospective clinical trials to develop novel myeloma treatment approaches (Trials S0120 and S0777).

NSABP, now part of NRG Oncology, biospecimens were used to demonstrate inconsistencies in HER2 testing in community laboratories, leading to the ASCO/CAP guideline for HER2 testing in breast cancer (Hammond et al, JCO 2010).

Several NCTN Banks have also contributed specimens to support important trans-NCI initiatives.

The COG bank provided biospecimens for the Therapeutically Applicable Research to Generate Effective Treatments (TARGET) (ALL and neuroblastoma) and Strategic Partnering to Evaluate Cancer Signatures (SPECS) (ALL and soft tissue sarcoma).

The GOG, now part of NRG Oncology, bank supplied tumor tissue biospecimens and normal DNA to The Cancer Genome Atlas Project (TCGA) to facilitate genome analysis and large-scale sequencing in ovarian tumors.

NCTN Banks biospecimens have also successfully been used by group, intergroup, and R01 and R21 investigators in validation marker studies, as well as by pharmacogenomic researchers to explore clinical, epidemiologic, and genomic markers related to treatment response and/or adverse events in NCI-sponsored clinical trials.