University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)

Head and Neck Cancer SPORE

Core B: Tissue/Histology

Raja Seethala, MD, Leader
Simion Chiosea, MD, Co-Investigator
Lin Wang, MD, Co-Investigator

The University of Pittsburgh Head and Neck Cancer SPORE will continue to maintain and expand a Histology/Tissue Banking Core to ensure efficient use of head and neck tissue specimens and provide routine and specialized histologic evaluation of these tissues for the SPORE's research projects.

The goal is to provide sufficient and well-characterized tissues of the highest quality in support of research studies in this SPORE and those of collaborating SPORE institutions. Tissue specimens, as well as blood and body fluid samples, are systematically collected from head and neck cancer patients and from non-cancer patients (to be used as controls).

The Core is responsible for collection, triage, processing and distribution or storage of specimens and tissue histopathology, tissue microarray generation, immunohistochemistry, and interpretation. Research specimens, including snap-frozen OCT-embedded, archival or fresh tissue blocks, cells (tumor or tumor infiltrating lymphocytes) dissociated from tissues, peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and paraffin-embedded or frozen tissue sections for immunohistochemical analysis and tissue microarrays, are triaged for distribution to the investigators, as specified by the research protocol. Microdissection of tissues and extraction of RNA and/or RNA for molecular assays may also be performed.

The Core banks any samples that are not used immediately by the SPORE investigators for future use by SPORE developmental research projects and SPORE projects at collaborating institutions. Histopathologic analysis by the Core Pathologists confirms the quality of and the presence of the expected target tissue in research specimens. Immunohistochemistry is used to detect cellular biomarkers, whose expression in target tissues may be correlated with clinical outcome.

The Core tracks samples and facilitates the sharing of specimens by the research laboratories according to a priority schema that is reviewed and approved by the Executive Committee of the SPORE. Specimen processing, inventory, distribution data and histopathologic analyses are maintained in the Core's computerized database with links to the Informatics component of the Biostatistics Core for storage and archiving to facilitate a web-based retrieval system. This database is designed for use by all SPORE investigators.