Overview of UKCTOCS Longitudinal Women’s Cohort (UKLWC)

UKCTOCS Longitudinal Women’s Cohort (UKLWC) includes the 202,280 postmenopausal women from the general population who joined the United Kingdom Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening and donated their samples and data for use in secondary studies   

To create an ‘open research’ platform accessible to all bona fide scientists from academia and industry for the study of common disease and delivery of precision medicine, in particular: 

  • Identification of new drug targets for common conditions to enable drug development, repositioning and indication expansion 
  • Discovery of novel risk prediction, screening, diagnostic and prognostic disease markers
  • Secondary use of data to address a different question or develop new methodologies, e.g. to new statistical methods or biomarker/prognostic indicators
  • Size: 202,280 postmenopausal women aged 50-74 years (at recruitment in 2001-5)
  • Informed consent for use of samples in secondary ethically approved studies with academia and industry 
  • Additional Section 251 approval
  • Longitudinal follow-up: 14 years follow-up to date; ongoing
  • High quality serum biorepository: All samples collected using a standardised protocol. Liquid nitrogen storage of 544,808 serum samples (10 x 500μL aliquots in straws), composed of 189,642 baseline samples (from 189,452 women) and  unique longitudinal set: 355,166 annual serial samples (median 9) (from 50,262 women)
  • Samples already validated for multi-omics analysis with academic and commercial collaborators: Nested case/controls sets used for: (i) Genotyping; (ii) Proteomics (including SWATH technology); (iii) Methylation; (iv) NMR metabolomics; (v) Autoantibody profiling; (vi) ELISA-based assays (vii) Lipidomics (viii) miRNA
  • Established linkage to electronic health records (from 2000; ongoing): 
    • National Cancer Registries (NHS Digital & Northern Ireland; National Cancer Intelligence Network- NCIN)
    • Hospital Episode Statistics (HES- In/Out Patient and A&E admissions; England & Wales)
    • Death Certificates (NHS Digital & Northern Ireland Death Registry)
    • MINAP (Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project) 
  • Large  numbers of women with incident disease events:  Example, using HES linkage alone, number of women with different common diseases
ICD10 Disease Type Total
Malignant Neoplasms (ICD10 - C) 24001
Nervous System (ICD10 - G) 20649
Circulatory System (ICD10 - I) 73037
Respiratory System (ICD10 - J) 33796
Digestive System (ICD10 - K) 66801
Musculoskeletal System (ICD10 - M) 62143
Genitourinary System (IDC10 - N) 42285

202,280 women provided a blood sample at recruitment with women randomised to the multimodal screening group (n=50,262) continuing to donate serum annually for up to 11 years from randomisation. Sample collection stopped at the end of screening in December 2011 (Menon et al, JCO 2015). Blood samples were collected in gel tubes (8 mL gel separation serum tubes; Greiner Bio-One 455071, Stonehouse, UK) at the trial centres, the bar-coded blood tubes were scanned into the data management system and transported daily at room temperature to a central laboratory (Menon et al., Lancet Oncol 2009). Samples were scanned when they were received at the central laboratory, centrifuged at 1500g for 10 min and the separated serum aliquoted into 10 x 500μL straws (Company - IMV) using a semi-automated MAPI platform (IMV). Exact times for interval to spin (median 24 hours) was recorded for each sample. The straws were stored in liquid nitrogen tanks at the central laboratory which when full were transported to a HTA licensed commercial cryofacility (Fisher Bioservices, UK until March 2018 and NIHR Biocentre since then)

uklwc sample processing

There are no restrictions to any research involving industry with regards to any disease other than cancer. Within the field of cancer, there is only restriction with regards to the ‘early detection and screening of cancer’. 

Abcodia (http://www.abcodia.com/) has exclusive commercial access to UKLWC Bank for studies involving early detection and screening of cancer. Researchers from industry wishing to work in this area should contact Abcodia.

There is no restriction on any academic research in any field/disease including early detection and screening of cancer. The only exception is ovarian cancer. In the case of early detection and screening of ovarian cancer, Abcodia has exclusive first option to take a license to commercialise any intellectual property developed by UCL and/or its collaborators even in the course of non-commercial academic research.