VCCS Sample Requirements

Specimen types accepted by VCCS:
• Bone marrow
• Peripheral blood
• Lymph node
• Bone marrow trephine
• Paraffin embedded tissue (FFPE)
• Other tissue samples can be tested after consultation with us.

Minimum Specimen Labelling Requirements:
• Label a sterile tube with the patient’s name (surname and first name), sex, date of birth, UR number and the date the specimen was collected.
• Place in a biohazard bag together with a completed interhospital referral form (Click here for VCCS Request Form).

Sample collection requirements:
Bone marrow
• Bone marrow (0.5 – 1.0mL) collected into a sterile tube containing lithium or sodium heparin without gel or beads.

Blood specimens
• Peripheral blood (5-10mL) collected into a sterile tube containing lithium or sodium heparin without gel or beads. These tubes are commercially available, but, if unobtainable, a sterile plain 10mL tube with 1000IU/mL of liquid sodium heparin added will suffice.
• EDTA tubes are NOT acceptable.

Bone marrow trephine
• In the absence of an adequate aspirated bone marrow specimen, a small piece of bone marrow trephine may be sent in the same collection tube as for bone marrow or blood, but with a covering of tissue culture medium for transport (see lymph node requirements below).
• As trephine cultures are often unsuccessful, a preferred tissue for culture may be peripheral blood (PB) for acute leukaemias or lymphoproliferative disorders if there is a significant abnormal cell population in the peripheral blood.

Lymph node
• Specimens should be from a viable area of tumor and kept sterile at all times.
• Fresh, unfixed specimens should be placed into clearly labelled containers containing RPMI, PBS or viral transport medium
• Keep the specimen at room temperature and transported to the laboratory ASAP.
• Note: Specimens taken from areas of necrosis or normal tissue or from a heavily irradiated area are not appropriate for cytogenetic analysis.

FISH on paraffin-embedded tissue
• See referral form for sending FISH on paraffin-embedded tissue to VCCS (PDF 141.6KB).

All specimens are to be addressed and delivered to:
Pathology Specimen Reception,
Attn: Victorian Cancer Cytogenetics Service
2nd Floor, Inpatient Services Building A
St. Vincent’s Hospital
Princes Street, Fitzroy, 3065
Tel: 03 9231 4154

• All specimens must be accompanied by a signed request form with cytogenetics clearly requested.
• Ensure specimens are not exposed to extremes of temperature during transit
NOTE: Do NOT place on ice!

• Specimens sent Monday to Friday should reach the department no later than 5.00pm.
• If taken later in the day, keep specimen at room temperature (RT) and send to department the next morning.
• Ensure specimen is not exposed to extremes of temperature during transit.

• Specimens taken late Friday may be sent overnight, to arrive on Saturday.
• If taken at the weekend or on a Public Holiday, keep the specimen at RT; send first thing the next working day.
• New leukaemia samples must be handled on the same day as obtained. Therefore, if taken after hours, contact St. Vincent’s Hospital for the pathologist/scientist on call.

Urgent results:
If an urgent result is required, please follow-up the despatch of the specimen with a telephone call to the department and the specimen will be processed more rapidly.
An urgent result may be provided within 24-48 hours. Completed analysis with banding should take no more than 5 days.