At present, results of marker studies are often inconsistent and sometimes contradictory. Recognized problems include multiple different methods of performing the assays, different subsets of patients and different endpoints, leading to incompatible datasets. Although there has been discussion of establishing general methodological principles and guidelines (analogous to those for clinical trials) for design, conduct, analysis, and reporting of marker studies, these have not been widely implemented. There are no well-recognized prototypes or examples that the urologic researcher can use to model future marker studies. We will discuss our plans to establish a multi-institutional bladder cancer data base and virtual tumor bank as a resource for participating institutions to evaluate the biological and prognostic significance of potential markers for bladder cancer. Samples will be identified and stored at each participating institution and will be available for analysis. A standard, minimal set of patient and pathologic information will be collected. The use of common software, as part of this proposal will facilitate the data transfer of updated patient information to a central database. All contributing centers will have access to summarized information, also to simplify the process of finding collaborating partners. Prospectively collected, consistent datasets with available long-term follow-up, should provide information sooner than with a conventional prospective study. Furthermore, the quality of these data and samples may be superior to that of retrospectively collected data and samples. The proposed International Bladder Cancer Bank of specimens and data will be an effective tool during all phases of marker development.
Copyright 2004 Elsevier Inc.