Information for patients

Chemotherapy resistance is one of the biggest challenges in cancer treatment. In the DECIDER project, we analyse tumour samples from patients who have enrolled to the study to 1) discover mechanisms that cause drug resistance and 2) suggest therapy approaches to overcome chemotherapy resistance.

Who can participate in the DECIDER project?

The samples in DECIDER are collected from patients who have consented to the MUPET study, conducted in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Turku University Hospital.

Patients with a suspected ovarian cancer diagnosis treated at the Turku University Hospital are provided information about the study and, if they wish to participate, sign an informed consent form. Samples and data for the DECIDER project are collected from patients with a confirmed diagnosis of high-grade serous ovarian cancer during routine operations.

There are no immediate benefits for participating in the study, but if the patients have consented to it, their treating doctor can contact them if validated, likely effective treatment options have been discovered. Examples of such are emergence of mutations in BRCA genes or treatable genomic aberrations, such as HER2 amplification, as described in a publication by Oikkonen et al. 2019, available at the Precision Oncology Journal.

What samples and data are collected?

Tumour tissue, ascites (liquid building up in the abdominal cavity) and blood samples are collected during normal treatment procedures and operations. These samples are analysed by different methods to discover their characteristics in detail, for example, by drug sensitivity testing and genome and gene expression analyses.

Clinical data collected for the study consists of laboratory results and information on operations, treatments and diagnoses from the patient’s medical case records. We also analyse image data from FDG PET/CT scans taken for consented neoadjuvant treated (NACT) patients, and from histopathological slides, which are tumour samples that are stained to visualise tissue architecture and tumour cells.

How is clinical data handled?

Only the research personnel who have an agreement for secrecy with the hospital have access to full personal data, other research partners receive sample and clinical data only in pseudonymized form after completing legal agreements for material and/or data transfer. All data are handled securely and according to the General Data Protection Regulation requirements. The Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of Turku University Hospital and University of Helsinki are joint data controllers of this study, and are responsible for the legality of the processing of personal data collected for the study.

For a list of all the research collaborators and for more information in Finnish, please see the MUPET study website here.

I already participate in the HERCULES project. Can I join the DECIDER project?

HERCULES (2015-2021) and DECIDER (2021-2026) are research projects funded by European Union Horizon 2020 framework program. Both are part of the MUPET clinical study, which is funded by these and other projects (for full list of funding institutions, see the hospital website here). If you have been recruited to the HERCULES project, you are also part of the DECIDER project.