Research Institute in Oncology and Hematology




For More Information:

Michelle Parisien
Data Manager
Tel: 204-787-1446
Email: Manitoba Tumour Bank

Contact Us:

Research Institute in Oncology and Hematology
675 McDermot Ave
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3E 0V9
Phone: 204-787-2137
Fax: 204-787-2190
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Manitoba Tumour Bank

Manitoba Tumour Bank

Operational Procedures


Cases are collected represent approximately 33% of 750 breast cancer cases per annum that are diagnosed and treated in Manitoba. Cases accrued are those that meet the following criteria; a) treated by surgical resection, b) tissue is submitted for pathological examination by Department of Pathology, DSM Laboratory Medicine Program c) excess tissue exists that would otherwise be discarded after completion and sign out of case, i.e. tissue is not required for clinical assessment/diagnosis.

This latter criteria is determined solely by the pathologist responsible for the case, not by the MTB. Once it has been determined that there is excess tissue available then this is accrued to the MTB. The tissue is then processed and assessed and the accompanying clinical data is also assessed to construct an MTB case. The clinical database is integrated with the provincial Cancer Registry.

Different case categories are crafted to allow the MTB to offer suitable cases with the appropriate extent of data for different types of research question. These categories are labelled A to D and are described in detail in tabular form in the application form. "A" cases are associated with an established protocol (collection on ice, documentation of time from end of surgery to freezing of tissue) and multiple tissue samples (eg from normal breast from the surgical specimen, primary tumour, and axillary lymph nodes). "B, C, D" category cases are mostly primary tumour samples and differ only in the extent of clinical data collected or extent of tissue available. All categories are associated with complete pathology, baseline clinical data. "A" and "B" subsets are also associated with extended treatment and outcome data. "D" cases derive from very large tumours with additional tissue blocks available for larger scale assays.

In all cases, tissue samples are obtained frozen and processed by the bank to produce several matching 'mirror image' paraffin and frozen tissue blocks. Further processing to create paraffin block 'Tissue Micro Arrays' is in progress from a subset of the paraffin block material.


The MTB is located at CancerCare Manitoba within dedicated space. This comprises a purpose designed laboratory area including a freezer room, darkroom, and office space.

There are two databases, one for tissue and clinical data associated with tissues stored in the MTB (the Manitoba Breast Cancer Database), and a second database for all breast surgical events in the province that are associated tissues in the clinical pathology archives (the Manitoba Breast Event Database). These are accessed through secured and password protected and firewall protected microcomputers.

Quality control

The MTB is evaluated through a regular process of internal evaluation to maintain the quality of this program. At the operations level this consists of quarterly Major Users Committee meetings in order to review all operational aspects. At a practical level we conduct regular audits on the integrity of the tissue storage and clinical database, and we have developed protocols for the quality control and efficient use of the tissues. A histological quality assessment is performed on all tissues and documented on all cases. An additional material quality assessment is performed on all cases using a semi-quantitative scoring system based on tumour cell nuclear parameters that relates to RNA quality. Our protocols for DNA, RNA & protein extraction from thin tissue sections are made readily available to investigators requesting material, in order to encourage the use of minimal amounts of tissue.


An inherent property of any Tumour Bank is that it provides a recognized structure, open to external review and accountability, providing a secure, confidential insulation and interface between the patient and the researcher. The interface is governed by the Personal Health and Information Act of Manitoba and is managed by a qualified team.

The MTB database is maintained within the secure and confidential limits of CancerCare Manitoba. On the clinical interface it can thus be accessed within CancerCare Manitoba, where cases are potentially linkable to the patient to update the followup. This also allows for patient initiated withdrawal or patient or physician request for material for later clinical diagnostic purposes. On the research interface, cases distinguished only by an anonymous tumour bank number and chosen by anonymous selection criteria (eg type of tumour) are accessible only through a formal mechanism, scientific review, appropriate research ethics board approval.

A commitment is documented from each investigator and a representative of their institution that cases provided by the MTB will be used for research purposes only, that tissues and their products will not be sold or used for commercial purposes, or be distributed further to third parties for purposes of sale or producing for sale, cells or cell products. Furthermore, tissues or extracted material will not be used for any research project other than that described in the application.

RIOH gratefully acknowledges the generous support of

CCMB_Logo RIOH is a joint institute of CancerCare Manitoba and University of Manitoba UofM_Logo