Skip to main content

Iranian Breast Cancer Bio-Bank: the activity and challenging issues


The information gained from the Human Genome Project has facilitated molecular as well as cellular studies not only to find the origins of Breast Cancer (BC), but also to create novel, and effective treatments. In order to provide an infrastructure for local and international research in this area, Iranian Center for Breast Cancer (ICBC) has established a Bio-Bank (BB) for BC. This article describes the aim, structure, and activities in general, and the challenging issues confronting the bank as a model for the establishment of Bio-Banks in developing countries in particular. The methods employed by the Bank could be explained in the following categories:

  • Blood and Tissue sampling,

  • Preparation and Banking of collected Samples,

  • Clinical and Histopathology data collection,

  • Collaboration Protocol,

  • Challenging issues, and the programs to confront the problems.

During the five-year activity of the bank, 110 families were enrolled for genetic counseling, from whom 600 biologic samples were obtained, including 387 blood samples and 213 tissue samples. Of 387 blood samples, 317 (82%) were found to belong to the BC patients and the remaining 70 (18%) belonged to their available relatives. The number of samples increased over the study period partly as a result of the programs designed to confront the problems. During the study period, there were some finished research studies using the samples of BB, and many other studies which are still ongoing. ICBC-BB is a model of biologic sample banking which provides a significant number of biological samples for local and international collaborative research projects regarding molecular and cellular aspects of BC. In establishing the ICBC-BB we have experienced problems and challenges, some general and some local. Some were expected and others not, but we have identified solutions.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3



Breast Cancer


Familial Breast Cancer


Iranian Center for Breast Cancer


Biologic Bank


Iranian Molecular Medicine Network


  • American Society of Human Genetics (1988) DNA banking and DNA analysis: points to consider. Ad Hoc Committee on DNA Technology. Am J Hum Genet 42(5):781–783

    Google Scholar 

  • Armstrong K, Eisen A, Weber B (2000) Assessing the risk of breast cancer. N Engl J Med 342(8):564–571

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Bauchet L, Rigau V, Mathieu-Daude H, Figarella-Branger D, Hugues D, Palusseau L, Bauchet F, Fabbro M, Campello C, Capelle L, Durand A, Tretarre B, Frappaz D, Henin D, Menei P, Honnorat J, Segnarbieux F (2007) French brain tumor data bank: methodology and first results on 10,000 cases. J Neurooncol 84(2):189–199. doi:10.1007/s11060-007-9356-9

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Cavousuglu ACSS, Alakavuklar M, Canda T, Sevinc A, Gorken I (2007) Dokuz Eylul University Breast Tumor/DNA banking: a pilot study. Turkish J Cancer 37(2):66–69

    Google Scholar 

  • Chu TY, Hwang KS, Yu MH, Lee HS, Lai HC, Liu JY (2002) A research-based tumor tissue bank of gynecologic oncology: characteristics of nucleic acids extracted from normal and tumor tissues from different sites. Int J Gynecol Cancer 12(2):171–176

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Deschenes M, Cardinal G, Knoppers BM, Glass KC (2001) Human genetic research, DNA banking and consent: a question of ‘form’? Clin Genet 59(4):221–239

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Ferlay J, Shin HR, Bray F, Forman D, Mathers C, Parkin DM (2008) GLOBOCAN 2008 v1.2. Cancer incidence and mortality worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 10 (Internet)

  • Ferlay J, Parkin DM, Steliarova-Foucher E (2010) Estimates of cancer incidence and mortality in Europe in 2008. Eur J Cancer 46(4):765–781. doi:10.1016/j.ejca.2009.12.014

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • German National Ethics Council (2004) Biobanks for research. Opinion. Berlin. Available online:

  • Godard B, Schmidtke J, Cassiman JJ, Ayme S (2003) Data storage and DNA banking for biomedical research: informed consent, confidentiality, quality issues, ownership, return of benefits. A professional perspective. Eur J Hum Genet 11(Suppl 2):S88–S122. doi:10.1038/sj.ejhg.5201114

  • Hautmann S, Eggers J, Meyhoff H, Melchior D, Munk A, Hamann M, Naumann M, Braun PM, Junemann KP (2007) Tumor markers for bladder cancer: up-to-date study by the Kiel Tumor Bank. Urol A 46(11):1508–1513. doi:10.1007/s00120-007-1562-8

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Isaian A, Moin M, Pourpak Z, Rezaei N, Aghamohammadi A, Movahedi M, Gharagozlou M, Ghaffari J, Zandieh F, Mansouri M, Farhoudi A (2006) DNA banking of primary immunodeficiency disorders in Iran. Iran J Allergy Asthma Immunol 5(4):201–202. doi:05.04/ijaai.201202

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • MacWilliams B (2003) Banking on DNA: estonia’s genetic database promises medical advances–maybe. Chron High Educ 49(33):A16–A18

    Google Scholar 

  • Majidzadeh AK, Esmaeili R, Abdoli N (2011) TFRC and ACTB as the best reference genes to quantify Urokinase Plasminogen Activator in breast cancer. BMC Res Notes 4:215. doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-215

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Morrin H, Gunningham S, Currie M, Dachs G, Fox S, Robinson B (2005) The Christchurch Tissue Bank to support cancer research. NZ Med J 118(1225):U1735

    Google Scholar 

  • Mousavi SM, Montazeri A, Mohagheghi MA, Jarrahi AM, Harirchi I, Najafi M, Ebrahimi M (2007) Breast cancer in Iran: an epidemiological review. Breast J 13(4):383–391. doi:10.1111/j.1524-4741.2007.00446.x

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Najmabadi H, Neishabury M, Sahebjam F, Kahrizi K, Shafaghati Y, Nikzat N, Jalalvand M, Aminy F, Hashemi SB, Moghimi B, Noorian AR, Jannati A, Mohammadi M, Javan K (2003) The Iranian Human Mutation Gene Bank: a data and sample resource for worldwide collaborative genetics research. Hum Mutat 21(2):146–150. doi:10.1002/humu.10164

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Patel AA, Kajdacsy-Balla A, Berman JJ, Bosland M, Datta MW, Dhir R, Gilbertson J, Melamed J, Orenstein J, Tai KF, Becich MJ (2005) The development of common data elements for a multi-institute prostate cancer tissue bank: the Cooperative Prostate Cancer Tissue Resource (CPCTR) experience. BMC Cancer 5:108. doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-108

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Popescu I, Stroescu C, Dumitrascu T, Herlea V, Paslaru L, Lazar V, Boissin H, Taieb J, Horeanga I (2006) Digestive tumor bank protocol: from surgical specimens to genomic studies of digestive cancers. Chirurgia (Bucur) 101(5):471–475

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Rassi H, Houshmand M, Hashemi M, Majidzadeh K, Akbari MH, Panahi MS (2008) Application of multiplex PCR with histopathologic features for detection of familial breast cancer in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded histologic specimens. Tsitol Genet 42(2):55–62

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Robson M, Offit K (2007) Clinical practice. Management of an inherited predisposition to breast cancer. N Engl J Med 357(2):154–162. doi:10.1056/NEJMcp071286

    Google Scholar 

  • Salimi M, Mozdarani H, Majidzadeh K (2011) Expression pattern of ATM and cyclin D1 in ductal carcinoma, normal adjacent and normal breast tissues of Iranian breast cancer patients. Med Oncol. doi:10.1007/s12032-011-0043-5

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Snell L, Watson PH (2006) Breast tissue banking: collection, handling, storage, and release of tissue for breast cancer research. Methods Mol Med 120:3–24

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Thomas GA, Williams ED (2001) Chernobyl thyroid tumor bank. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 86(3):1428

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • van Noord PA (2003) Banking of urine sediments as DNA source in epidemiologic studies. Epidemiology 14(2):254. doi:10.1097/01.EDE.0000054363.61254.FC (author reply 254–255)

    Google Scholar 

  • Watson PH, Snell L, Parisien M (1996) The NCIC-Manitoba Breast Tumor Bank: a resource for applied cancer research. CMAJ 155(3):281–283

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


We thank Dr. Masoud Habibi, Dr. Vahid Ghobadi Dana, and Dr. Alireza Bahrami for their continuous supports for ICBC-BB. We also thank all contributing surgeons and operating room staff including Dr. Sadaf Alipour, Dr. Esmat Al Sadat Hashemi, Dr. Masoumeh Najafi, Dr. Mohammadhosein Lashgari, Dr. Nasrinossadat Alavi, Mr. Mohsen Goli, Mrs.Nasrin Abdoli and Mrs. Maryam Ansari for their helping us with tissue sampling. This work was supported partly by Iranian Molecular Medicine Network at Pasteur Institute of Iran (Grant number PM4136) and National Research Center for Medical Sciences at Ministry of Health and Medical Education (Grant number TMM2514).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Keivan Majidzadeh-A.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Majidzadeh-A, K., Kaviani, A., Esmaeili, R. et al. Iranian Breast Cancer Bio-Bank: the activity and challenging issues. Cell Tissue Bank 14, 11–20 (2013).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: