Newsletter November 2017


In March 2008, the nationwide virtual tumourbank project was launched by the Belgian Minister of Health, Ms. Laurette Onkelinx (initiative 27 of the Belgian Cancer Plan). The Belgian Virtual Tumourbank (BVT network) encompasses the tumour biobanks from eleven Belgian university hospitals (click here for the list) that collect and store residual human tumour samples locally. In order to facilitate the search for tumour samples scattered among different Belgian institutions, data collected at sample level is made available for researchers via the online BVT catalogue (BVTc) application. A high quality of the data on the tumour sample requested by scientists for research in oncology is guaranteed by automatic and manual controls performed by the BVT project team at the Belgian Cancer Registry.

Do we have what you are looking for?


With this second newsletter, we give you a quick glance of the available samples in our online BVT catalogue! If you want to know if the specific samples for your research are available in our catalogue, please request full access so you can browse freely through all available sample data and find the matching samples for your study!


Available samples
The BVT catalogue contains patient, medical and technical data, but excludes identifying information to ensure privacy of individuals (for full dataset, click here). On November 1st 2017, a total of 77,028 registrations were available in the BVTc, including 65,475 primary tumour samples and 9,155 metastasis samples. For biannually updated aggregated data, click here.
More than 18,000 breast tumour samples !
About 5000 samples from tumours in:
  • Central nervous system
  • Colorectal
  • Other digestive organs  (stomach, liver, pancreas, ...)

Also less frequent tumours are available (group "others" on the figure):

  • Head and neck
  • Skin
  • Bone marrow and spleen
  • Male genital organs
  • Other intrathoracic organs
  • Bone and articular cartilage
  • Urinary tract
Which materials are available?
For 53,637 (60 %) registrations only tumour tissue samples are available. However, also other residual materials can be stored at the local biobank and thus be available in the BVT catalogue.  The most common type of other residual material is corresponding normal tissue samples (20 %). Other available materials are plasma, blood, serum, DNA and buffy coat. Even PBMCs, RNA, cytology and urine are available in some cases! 
How are the samples stored? 


  The majority of the tumour

  samples (69%) are conserved at 



  More than one fourth (29%) of the

  tumour samples are included in 





What about gender? 


In the BVT catalogue, 45,387 (58,9%) residual tumour samples origin from female patients and 31,641 (41,1%)  from male patients. The most common localisations of primary tumour samples of female patients are breast, CNS, female genital organs and colorectal. As far as male cancer patients are concerned, most common topology groups of residual primary  tumour samples are CNS, colorectal, lung, other digestive organs (such as stomach, liver, pancreas, ...) and soft tissue.



The orange marked organs in the figure above are the top three most frequent tumour localisations for primary tumours in Belgium: prostate, lung and colorectal for male patients and breast, colorectal and lung for female patients.


For information on sample availability, click here.

To gain full access to the online BVT catalogue, please follow the procedure indicated here.



For further information:   or