Table 5

Major considerations in biospecimen collection and handling reported by the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer Surgery Committee

Prior to biopsyDuring collectionAfter collectionTherapeutic immune cell collection
Early consultation with surgical or interventional physician expertiseEnsure that all supplies and collection containers are availableEnsure rapid delivery to laboratory, if appropriateSterile conditions must be used throughout
Early consultation with surgical pathologist to plan specimen allocation and testing (ie, SOC vs research)Once tissue is obtained, processing should be as rapid as possibleRapid shipping with proper labels and addressesEnsure all processing and shipping SOPs are in place
Ensure IRB approval and written informed consent are obtained prior to the procedureEnsure enough tissue is obtained, especially if required for SOCMonitor the temperature of collected specimens prior to processing and avoid excessive heatWork with clinical immunotherapy experts to ensure appropriate patients and lesions are selected
Establish SOPs for specimen collection at institutionIf sample not fixed immediately, consider vacuum sealing, placing in sterile gauze with preservative fluid, or on ice in sterile systemIf processing is delayed, keep specimen on ice unless otherwise indicatedConfirm days and times open for specimen receiving prior to procedure
Ensure that all personnel involved in tissue collection are trained in local SOPsIf a biosafety cabinet is not available, establish a “clean” area for initial specimen handling
Consider the number of cells and viability status needed from tissue; consult with immunology experts to defineAvoid contact between different specimens
Consider preservatives needed to process and store tissue once collectedUse new supplies and containers for each new specimen
Consider if matched specimens are needed (ie, PBMC and tumor) at each time point
Determine the type of biopsy (eg, core needle, incisional, excisional, etc.) to be done and what instruments and reagents (eg, needles, collection bottles, preservatives, etc.) are needed
Understand institutional policies and regulations, including coordination with pathology for SOC
Ensure pre-labeling of all specimen containers and patient materials
Consider using a time tracking process with documentation
Consider collecting normal tissues as control
  • IRB, institutional review board; PBMC, peripheral blood mononuclear cell; SOC, standard of care; SOP, standard operating procedure.