Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Recruiting donors for autopsy based cancer research
  1. J Thombs1,
  2. N J Borthwick2,
  3. J L Hungerford3,
  4. I A Cree4
  1. 1Ocular Oncology Service, Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, UK
  2. 2Pathology Division, Institute of Ophthalmology, London, UK
  3. 3Ocular Oncology Service, Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, UK
  4. 4Translational Oncology Department, Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, Portsmouth, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr N J Borthwick
 Pathology Division, Institute of Ophthalmology, 11–43 Bath Street, London EC1V 9EL, UK;


The use of human tissue for scientific research is a highly sensitive issue. A lack of confidence in patient recruitment is one reason for the failure of many studies to be funded and it is important therefore that recruitment procedures are as effective and sympathetic as possible. The authors recruited patients with uveal melanoma into a postmortem study investigating tumour latency in this cancer. Two approaches were used—firstly a direct approach when patients attended clinic and secondly an initial approach by mail followed by telephone contact. In the first year of study the authors had a take up rate of 88.5%, significantly higher than the average rate of 40% quoted by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). Key features are a sympathetic personal approach by experienced oncology nurses, the provision of clear information, and the inclusion of the next of kin in the recruitment procedure.

  • uveal melanoma
  • postmortem
  • tissue donors
  • recruitment

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • This project is funded by a grant from Cancer Research UK

  • There are no financial or other relationships that might lead to a conflict of interest. The manuscript has been read and approved by all the authors and the requirements for authorship have been met.

Other content recommended for you