Intersection of biobanking and clinical care: Should discrepant diagnoses and pathological findings be returned to research participants?

Nicole C. Lockhart, Rihab Yassin, Carol J. Weil, Carolyn C. Compton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Diagnostic discrepancies occur when the diagnosis made on a biospecimen during the course of review at a biobank differs from the original clinical diagnosis. These diagnostic discrepancies detected during biobanking present unique challenges that are distinct from other types of research results or incidental findings. The proposed process for reporting diagnostic discrepancies or pathological incidental findings identified through a quality assurance evaluation at the biobank includes verification of the biospecimen identity, verification of the diagnosis within the biobank, and re-review of the case by the pathologist at the biospecimen collection site. If the pathologist at the biobank and the original pathologist do not reach agreement, an impartial and knowledgeable third party is consulted. The decision as to whether and how to notify research participants of any confirmed changes in diagnosis would be determined by institutional procedures. Implementation of this proposed process will require clear delineation of the roles and responsibilities of all involved parties in order to promote excellence in patient care and ensure that researchers have access to biospecimens of requisite quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-423
Number of pages7
JournalGenetics in Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012
Externally publishedYes



  • biobank
  • biospecimen
  • diagnostic discrepancy
  • incidental finding
  • return of research results

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)

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