Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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The role of rapid autopsy in oncology

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-08-15, 11:23 authored by Brian Li, Elysia Grose, Shawn Khan, Caberry Weiyang Yu

Clinical autopsies are conducted to further investigate a patient’s cause of death and often include sampling tissue for educational or research purposes. However, standard autopsies preclude the collection of the high-quality tissue necessary for advanced laboratory assays due to the degree of tissue necrosis that occurs after death. Rapid autopsies differ from standard procedures in that they are conducted shortly after a patient’s death, thus preserving the structural integrity of important biomolecules. The goal of this review is to outline the logistics of rapid autopsy programmes, and to discuss the advantages of rapid autopsies and their relevance in the field of cancer research. To ascertain the number and variety of studies that have utilised rapid autopsy-obtained tissue for cancer research, a search was conducted on Ovid MEDLINE for all records from 1946 to January 4, 2017. The majority of studies focused on molecular genetics, clinical research, and tumour heterogeneity, most frequently using prostate, breast, and pancreas tissue. This article highlights the need for a more robust and comprehensive systematic review on the impact of rapid autopsy programmes to better inform and advise researchers on the value of rapid autopsies for oncology research 



The original article is available at Part of the RCSIsmj collection:

Published Citation

Li B, Grose E, Khan S. Yu CW. The role of rapid autopsy in oncology. RCSIsmj. 2019;12(1):68-71

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  • Undergraduate Research


RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences


  • Published Version (Version of Record)