Abstract: Half of all cancer patients receive radiotherapy, which makes a substantial contribution to their long‐term disease control/cure. There are significant inter‐patient differences in response, both in terms of efficacy and toxicity (frequently delayed onset) which are difficult to predict. With the introduction of technological improvements (e.g. stereotactic body radiotherapy and proton therapy) and development of combination therapies (e.g. radiotherapy and immune checkpoint inhibition), predictive biomarkers are needed even more. Whilst genomic studies have contributed significantly to predictions of response to anticancer therapy, there is no doubt that more information can be gathered from patient tissue samples. Patients are willing to donate their tissues to biobanks and wish them to be used as widely as possible for high‐quality research. We report here a survey of the current practices in the UK from several groups collecting material from patients in radiotherapy trials and have identified barriers to collecting and sharing data and samples. We believe the current situation represents a significant missed opportunity to improve the personalisation of radiotherapy. We propose a greater involvement of patients and/or their advocates, a standardisation of the patient information leaflet, consent form content and data set, with easy linkage to clinical data, which would facilitate widespread sample and data discovery and availability to other researchers. The greater sharing of data and samples, nationally and internationally, would facilitate robust multicentre studies and avoid duplication of effort.
Bibliographical noteThis work was supported by the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Clinical and Translational Radiotherapy Research Working Group (CTRad), which was established in 2009 by six of the NCRI's funding partners. We gratefully acknowledge Carolyn Chan and Julie Stock (NCRI) for their assistance in collecting the responses to the questionnaire sent to CTRad membership.
Open Access via the Wiley OA Agreement