Existing Data Sources for Clinical Epidemiology: The Danish National Pathology Registry and Data Bank

Clin Epidemiol. 2010 Aug 9;2:51-6. doi: 10.2147/clep.s9908.


Diagnostic histological and cytological specimens are routinely stored in pathology department archives. These biobanks are a valuable research resource for many diseases, particularly if they can be linked to high quality population-based health registries, allowing large retrospective epidemiological studies to be carried out. Such studies are of significant importance, for example in the search for novel prognostic and predictive biomarkers in the era of personalized medicine. Denmark has a wealth of highly-regarded population-based registries that are ideally suited to conduct this type of epidemiological research. We describe two recent additions to these databases: the Danish National Pathology Registry (DNPR) and its underlying national online registration database, the Danish Pathology Data Bank (DPDB). The DNPR and the DPDB contain detailed nationwide records of all pathology specimens analyzed in Denmark since 1997, and an incomplete but nonetheless valuable record of specimens from some pathology departments dating back to the 1970s. The data are of high quality and completeness and are sufficient to allow precise and efficient localization of the specimens. We describe the relatively uncomplicated procedures required to use these pathology databases in clinical research and to gain access to the archived specimens.

Keywords: cohort profile; epidemiology; paraffin blocks; pathology.