Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is one of the least understood and most deadly childhood cancers. Historically, there has been a paucity of DIPG specimens for molecular analysis. However, due to the generous participation of DIPG families in programs for postmortem specimen donation, there has been a recent surge in molecular analysis of newly available tumor specimens. Collaborative efforts to share data and tumor specimens have resulted in rapid discoveries in other pediatric brain tumors, such as medulloblastoma, and therefore have the potential to shed light on the biology of DIPG. Given the generous gift of postmortem tissue donation from DIPG patients, there is a need for standardized postmortem specimen accrual to facilitate rapid and effective multi-institutional molecular studies.We developed and implemented an autopsy protocol for rapid procurement, documenting and storing these specimens. Sixteen autopsies were performed throughout the United States and Canada and processed using a standard protocol and inventory method, including specimen imaging, fixation, snap freezing, orthotopic injection, or preservation. This allowed for comparative clinical and biological studies of rare postmortem DIPG tissue specimens, generation of in vivo and in vitro models of DIPG, and detailed records to facilitate collaborative analysis.
Keywords: autopsy; brainstem glioma; diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG); histone 3; orthotopic injection.