How does the biobank work?

Placed at the heart of this whole screening initiative, the EORTC supervises and endorses the entirety of the screening platform activities.

The EORTC plays a crucial role in the management of the screening platform operational framework in collaboration with ETOP. The EORTC facilitates the exchange of tissue samples across Europe as well as the centralization of data respectively provided by the clinical centers, the biobank and the diagnostic laboratories.

The SPECTAlung screening research platform is a dynamic consortium between the following acting partners:

  • The EORTC Headquarters are the clinical infrastructure that provides methodological, operational and legal support to the SPECTAlung biobank.


  • The Diagnostics laboratories are in charge of performing the biomarker analysis.  The cancer center ‘Gustave Roussy, Cancer Campus, Grand Paris’  is currently the laboratory habilitated to receive and process all collected tumor paraffin embedded tissue samples sent from the clinical centers. 14MG,  a cancer diagnostic company  and  collaborator on this project is in charge of performing Next Generation Sequencing analyses (NGS) of the collected tumor samples.

SPECTAlung Workflow
Platform process description & data analysis:

The clinical centers recruit the patients (see above figure). The tissue sample (1)  is sent  to the ‘Gustave Roussy, Cancer Campus Grand Paris’ Pathology Institute to perform the required quality control and extract the DNA (3) (4) (5), meanwhile both the clinical and pathological data of this sample are collected and sent to the EORTC centralized VISTA database (2) where all data is gathered and stored (6). The sample shipment is tracked by EORTC by means of a web-based tool  that keeps track records of samples sent throughout Europe.

Upon receipt of the tissue samples, the biobank updates the web-based tool with pathology, DNA extractions analysis results (3). The DNA sample extraction is then shipped to the diagnostic laboratories to perform the biomarker analysis (4, 5). Ultimately, 14MG a partner of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, our research partner will provide at a later stage, next generation sequencing (NGS)  information about the biomarker analysis, refining thus even more the tissue sample analysis findings.

Any unused remaining biological material will be stored at the biobank or alternatively sent back to the clinical center if requested.

Upon completion of the biomarker analysis, results are uploaded to the EORTC centralized database (6) and the physician of the patient is notified whether the patient might be eligible to enter a clinical trial matching his tumour biomarker criteria (7). All patient clinical data status is updated every 6 months.

A comprehensive account of all steps taken is recorded in the EORTC centralized database to ensure a thorough follow-up at all times.


“SPECTAlung is currently valued among its stakeholders as a varied and adaptable consortium that meets the needs and evolution of the science” Denis Lacombe, EORTC Director General.