Our Program

The UHN GYN Blood Biobank was established in 2011 at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (PM) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada is the largest cancer centre in Canada. PM treats the largest volume of ovarian cancer patients in Canada and all newly diagnosed patients are approached to participate in research initiatives, including blood banking. PM is a research hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto as part of the University Health Network. The UHN GYN Blood Biobank was initiated in 2011 in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at PM. The goal of this blood bank is to establish a repository of high-quality blood samples and clinical data for ovarian cancer researchers.

To date, >35,000 sample aliquots have been collected from >1,000 women with or at risk for ovarian cancer

All eligible patients attending the Gynecologic Oncology Clinics at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre or the Familial Ovarian Cancer Clinic (FOCC) at Women’s College Hospital are approached at their initial appointment and offered the opportunity to participate. Upon consent, additional blood samples are collected for the purpose of future research at the same time as clinical bloodwork. Patient cohorts include: 1) ovarian cancer patients treated with primary surgery or neoadjuvant chemotherapy (pathologically confirmed epithelial ovarian cancer); 2) women presenting with a suspicious pelvic mass without a cancer diagnosed after surgery (controls); 3) women with a confirmed germline mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes or a strong family history for ovarian/breast cancer who are planning to undergo risk-reducing surgery (at-risk women). Collections occur throughout the patients’ clinical course (Please see details). Different sample types are collected (e.g. buffy coat, plasma and serum) dependent on time point. All samples are linked to high-quality de-identified clinical data available to researchers, including but not limited to pathology information (stage, grade, histology), CA125 data, surgical and systemic treatment information and outcome data (progression-free and overall survival). Corresponding tumour tissue specimens can be requested through the UHN Tissue Biobank.

UHN GYN Biobank samples have been used in local, national and international research collaborations, including but not limited to: