​​​​​Using the Tissue Availability ​Page​​


In 2014, the WHI LILAC repository began collecting archived Formalin Fixed Paraffin Embedded (FFPE) tissue from WHI LILAC participants who were diagnosed with incident invasive breast, lung, colorectal, endometrial, ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancer or melanoma of the skin (invasive or in situ). To be included in the LILAC tissue repository, WHI participants were required to have been diagnosed between 2002 and 2017 and either sign a LILAC consent form and LILAC Release of Information form or be deceased prior to contact by the LILAC study. LILAC tissue receipt has averaged 50-60% of requests, varying by year of diagnosis, type of provider, and cancer type.

All tissue blocks entering the LILAC repository undergo rigorous pathology review to determine tissue size, morphology, % invasive/in situ/normal tissue, % epithelial/non-epithelial tissue, % with necrosis and mucin, agreement with diagnosis, etc. These data are available to be used as inclusion/exclusion criteria for tissue selection.

Please note:

  • It is the LILAC repository policy not to release FFPE blocks directly to ancillary study labs. The WHI specimen processing lab can extract DNA from tissue samples if requested by the ancillary study. Unstained slides, curls, punches, or tissue microarrays can also be prepared for distribution (pricing subject to change). The WHI specimen processing lab will also be developing a protocol for extracting RNA from tissue in the future.
  • Collaboration with LILAC study investigators is required for access to LILAC specimens. LILAC PIs are: Garnet Anderson (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center), Bette Caan (Kaiser Permanente Northern California), and Electra Paskett (Ohio State University).
  • A large percentage of blocks received by the LILAC repository and pathology reviewed must be returned to the pathology facility of origin due to local rules and regulations. Thus, blocks that are "in inventory" per the query on any given day might not be in inventory at a later date. Most can be re-requested from those facilities at additional cost if needed for an ancillary study.
  • Approximately 20-30% of pathology providers that we work with will not release tissue blocks, but will release unstained slides. For these facilities, we typically request 10-20 slides at 5 micron thickness, which are stored in our repository in vacuum-sealed slide boxes.


For more information on LILAC, please visit the LILAC page [link to page: https://www.whi.org/studies/LILAC/Pages/Home.aspx]

Click here for links to the [LILAC baseline questionnaire (Form 340)] and [LILAC annual survey (Form 370)​].​


1 Virtually no pre-analytical data, such as time to fixation and time in fixation, is available for the LILAC archived FFPE blocks. Once received at LILAC, the blocks are stored in a temperature and humidity controlled environment.

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Note that query results yield the number of participants with the criteria you have selected, not the number of tissue specimens.

1. Cancer Type: Please select the cancer type of interest for the FFPE tumor tissue sample. You can select "any cancer type" or specify one of the following types of tissue that LILAC is collecting. 

tissue cancer type drop down.png

2. Negate: Press this button if you want to make the criteria you have selected NOT true. The Negate button is available on all ​criteria screens. To undo, simply click the "Undo Negation" button.

3. Tissue: Select all tissue types that interest you (blocks, unstained slides, H&Es, stained slides, punches, embedded punches, curls). If you need a participant to have multiple tissue types (for example, an H&E AND a tissue block), you must add those as query filters individually. Otherwise, a participant will be counted if they have one OR the other.

4. Availability: 

tissue availability drop down.png

In inventory = currently checked into and physically present in the LILAC repository. The LILAC repository inventory is updated nightly.

In inventory or pending request/receipt = the participant is LILAC tissue eligible and the tissue request is either complete or pending. Reasons for unsuccessful requests: tissue has already been destroyed, no response from the pathology facility, or pathology facility is unwilling to release the tissue blocks. The number of tissue eligible participants in the query may decrease slightly over time as we learn that blocks have been destroyed or receive refusals from pathology providers.

If you have additional questions that are not answered here, please contact the WHI help desk.