The role of diagnostic tissue in research

Carol C. Cheung, Emina E. Torlakovic, Anna Porwit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There are two broad classes (or categories) of excised human tissue: diagnostic tissue (DT) and research tissue (RT). Classification of excised human tissue does not define its ultimate use and ultimate use of excised human tissue does not define its classification. While both DT and RT can be used for research, DT has specific requirements with respect to how it must be handled if and when being accessed for research. We highlight distinguishing features of DT: (1) it is a clinical record, (2) it must be identifiable to a specific individual, (3) it is stewarded by pathology departments/clinical laboratories and (4) it has a mandatory retention period. We discuss how the further sub-classification of DT into archived DT (aDT) and excess DT (eDT) impacts the nature of its role in research. We examine the concept of DT as a clinical record and emphasize the impact of mandatory retention as it applies to how DT may be accessed for research purposes. We explain the role of post-retention eDT as a source of RT as well as procedures for access to in-retention aDT for research. Clarity of such issues will facilitate responsible access to DT for research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-303
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Cancer and Oncology

Free keywords

  • Access to diagnostic tissue
  • Biobanking
  • Diagnostic tissue
  • Pathology
  • Research
  • Residual tissue


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