Poster & Mini Oral Joint 2016 COSA and ANZBCTG Annual Scientific Meeting

Attitudes of patients with metastatic cancer towards research biopsies (#188)

Davinia Seah 1 2 3 , Danielle Robinson 4 , Leonid Churilov 5 , Nancy U Lin 6 7 , Elgene Lim 3 8 9
  1. Sacred Heart Supportive and Palliative Care Service, St Vincents' Hospital Sydney, Darlinghurst, New South Waless, Australia
  2. School of Medicine, University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  4. Austin Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
  5. The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
  6. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  7. Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  8. Medical Oncology, St Vincents' Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  9. Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


Tissue obtained from patients with metastatic cancer assist the understanding of the molecular biology of cancer . Research biopsies can be a stand-alone procedure (research purposes only biopsy, RPOB) or performed during a clinically indicated biopsy (additional pass biopsy, AB).


This study evaluates the attitudes of patients with metastatic cancers towards research biopsies outside a clinical trial.


Patients with metastatic cancer completed a paper questionnaire that assessed patients’ willingness to consider research biopsies. Factors analyzed included sociodemographic information, cancer type, biopsy timing, biopsy site, and information about prior trial and biopsy participation. Univariate and multivariable analyses were conducted using random-effects logistic regression.


The questionnaire was completed by 165 (40 melanoma, 37 colorectal, 32 breast, 30 lung, 25 prostate) patients. Melanoma patients demonstrated the greatest willingness to consider a research biopsy compared to other cancer types (all p < 0.05). For example, patients with metastatic melanoma exhibited the odds of willing to consider a research biopsy eight times higher than the patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (p<0.0001, 95% CI 0.04, 0.34). Race, time since a previous biopsy, time since metastatic diagnosis, transportation time and previous trial enrolment were all statistically significantly associated with the willingness to consider a research biopsy on univariate analysis. In multivariate analyses, the odds of patients considering an AB compared to a RPOB were 14.6 times higher (p < 0.0001, 95% CI 7.9-27.0). Patients were also more willing to consider having blood taken for research purposes compared to undergoing a biopsy (all p < 0.0001).


Patients show a greater willingness to consider an AB compared to a RPOB, as well as biopsies performed at less invasive bodily sites. Further research to address motivations and barriers to research biopsies should be considered to increase the availability of this importance resource.