As the study into cancer gene markers continues, researchers hope that each new discovery will lead to better treatments and more targeted therapies. The surgeries for tumor and cancerous tissue removals are becoming better and more targeted as well.

One of the more recent developments in cancer surgery is related to prostate cancer, which is the second most common cancer affecting men. It is diagnosed in one in every seven men and kills one in every thirty-six. The surgery for prostate cancer has typically been a radical retropubic prostatectomy (RRP), which involves removal of the prostate gland through an incision in the abdomen.

Many of the tissue samples extracted from prostate cancer patients in this manner are used for cancer research and the specimens and cancer tissue information were stored in biobank facilities.

Because this type of surgery was performed so frequently and reliably the cancerous tissue specimens were able to be used confidently in future cancer research for studies such as those involving RNA and biomarker investigations. It is important for such research that the tissue samples are suitable for the research process.

A newer surgical procedure for prostate cancer tissue removal involves a robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy (RALP). A RALP uses a robotic system that is operated by the surgeon via mechanized arms that have attached surgical equipment and a camera that are inserted through several much smaller incisions.

This procedure is preferred in facilities that have the equipment for it due to the fact that it is less invasive, meaning a shorter recovery period. It is also typically a more accurate way to perform the surgery because the equipment does not experience the fatigue or inaccurate muscle movements of a human hand. Because the RALP surgery is becoming a more popular way to perform a prostatectomy, questions revolved around the viability of those specimens for biobanking and research.

Scientists answered this question by conducting a study to compare RRP and RALP methods of obtaining suitable tissue samples and the subsequent cancer tissue information for research. They did this by extracting DNA and RNA samples from both RRP and RALP tissue specimens.

Assessments were then conducted to determine the quality of the samples using spectrophotometric analysis and RNA numbers or RNA integrity numbers (RIN) were assessed using real-time transverse-transcription PCR.

These tests concluded that the frozen specimens from both the RRP and RALP were equivalent in quality and that the gene expression levels were also similar, meaning that the RALP method would allow for suitable research specimens to be held in the conditions of a biobank and to get DNA and RNA samples from. ILSBio is one such biobank that is capable of storing tissue samples from RALP procedures for future prostate cancer research.