Brain Tumor Biobank Development for Precision Medicine: Role of the Neurosurgeon

Front Oncol. 2021 Apr 26;11:662260. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2021.662260. eCollection 2021.


Neuro-oncology biobanks are critical for the implementation of a precision medicine program. In this perspective, we review our first year experience of a brain tumor biobank with integrated next generation sequencing. From our experience, we describe the critical role of the neurosurgeon in diagnosis, research, and precision medicine efforts. In the first year of implementation of the biobank, 117 patients (Female: 62; Male: 55) had 125 brain tumor surgeries. 75% of patients had tumors biobanked, and 16% were of minority race/ethnicity. Tumors biobanked were as follows: diffuse gliomas (45%), brain metastases (29%), meningioma (21%), and other (5%). Among biobanked patients, 100% also had next generation sequencing. Eleven patients qualified for targeted therapy based on identification of actionable gene mutations. One patient with a hereditary cancer predisposition syndrome was also identified. An iterative quality improvement process was implemented to streamline the workflow between the operating room, pathology, and the research laboratory. Dedicated tumor bank personnel in the department of neurosurgery greatly improved standard operating procedure. Intraoperative selection and processing of tumor tissue by the neurosurgeon was integral to increasing success with cell culture assays. Currently, our institutional protocol integrates standard histopathological diagnosis, next generation sequencing, and functional assays on surgical specimens to develop precision medicine protocols for our patients. This perspective reviews the critical role of neurosurgeons in brain tumor biobank implementation and success as well as future directions for enhancing precision medicine efforts.

Keywords: biobank; brain tumor; neurosurgery; precision medicine; precision oncology.