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J Transl Med


© 2018 The Author(s). Background: World Trade Center (WTC) responders were exposed to mixture of dust, smoke, chemicals and carcinogens. Studies of cancer incidence in this population have reported elevated risks of cancer compared to the general population. There is a need to supplement current epidemiologic cancer follow-up with a cancer tissue bank in order to better elucidate a possible connection between each cancer and past WTC exposure. This work describes the implementation of a tissue bank system for the WTC newly diagnosed cancers, focused on advancing the understanding of the biology of these tumors. This will ultimately impact the modalities of treatment, and the probability of success and survival of these patients. Methods: WTC Responders who participated (as employees or volunteers) in the rescue, recovery and cleanup efforts at the WTC sites have been enrolled at Mount Sinai in the World Trade Center Health Program. Responders with cancer identified and validated through linkages with New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut cancer registries were eligible to participate in this biobank. Potential participants were contacted through letters, phone calls, and emails to explain the research study, consent process, and to obtain the location where their cancer procedure was performed. Pathology departments were contacted to identify and request tissue samples. Results: All the 866 solid cancer cases confirmed by the Data Center at Mount Sinai have been contacted and consent was requested for retrieval and storage of the tissue samples from their cancer. Hospitals and doctors' offices were then contacted to locate and identify the correct tissue block for each patient. The majority of these cases consist of archival paraffin blocks from surgical patients treated from 2002 to 2015. At the time of manuscript writing, this resulted in 280 cancer samples stored in the biobank. Conclusions: A biobank of cancer tissue from WTC responders has been compiled with 280 specimens in storage to date. This tissue bank represents an important resource for the scientific community allowing for high impact studies on environmental exposures and cancer etiology, cancer outcome, and gene-environment interaction in the unique population of WTC responders.

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School of Medicine

Primary Department

Occupational Medicine, Epidemiology and Prevention