World Endometriosis Research Foundation Endometriosis Phenome and Biobanking Harmonisation Project: IV. Tissue collection, processing, and storage in endometriosis research

Fertil Steril. 2014 Nov;102(5):1244-53. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2014.07.1209. Epub 2014 Sep 22.


Objective: To harmonize standard operating procedures (SOPs) and standardize the recording of associated data for collection, processing, and storage of human tissues relevant to endometriosis.

Design: An international collaboration involving 34 clinical/academic centers and three industry collaborators from 16 countries on five continents.

Setting: In 2013, two workshops were conducted followed by global consultation, bringing together 54 leaders in endometriosis research and sample processing from around the world.

Patient(s): None.

Intervention(s): Consensus SOPs were based on: 1) systematic comparison of SOPs from 24 global centers collecting tissue samples from women with and without endometriosis on a medium or large scale (publication on >100 cases); 2) literature evidence where available, or consultation with laboratory experts otherwise; and 3) several global consultation rounds.

Main outcome measure(s): Standard recommended and minimum required SOPs for tissue collection, processing, and storage in endometriosis research.

Result(s): We developed "recommended standard" and "minimum required" SOPs for the collection, processing, and storage of ectopic and eutopic endometrium, peritoneum, and myometrium, and a biospecimen data collection form necessary for interpretation of sample-derived results.

Conclusion(s): The EPHect SOPs allow endometriosis research centers to decrease variability in tissue-based results, facilitating between-center comparisons and collaborations. The procedures are also relevant to research into other gynecologic conditions involving endometrium, myometrium, and peritoneum. The consensus SOPs are based on the best available evidence; areas with limited evidence are identified as requiring further pilot studies. The SOPs will be reviewed based on investigator feedback and through systematic triannual follow-up. Updated versions will be made available at:

Keywords: EPHect; Endometriosis; standard operating procedures; standardization; tissue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Specimen Collection / standards*
  • Endometriosis / blood*
  • Endometriosis / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internationality
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Specimen Handling / standards*
  • Tissue Banks / standards*