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  • DNA and RNA can be sent. Minimum 5 micrograms.
  • RNA samples should be treated with DNAse I to remove any DNA contamination.
  • Specimens should be shipped refrigerated (4ºC) or frozen.

Peripheral Blood Requirements/Bone Marrow Requirements

  • Draw whole blood in EDTA tube (lavender top). Blood: 5-20 ml for adults; Bone marrow: 2-3 ml.
  • Ship specimen at room temperature. The tissue should be delivered within 6 hours of extraction.
  • Overnight shipments of specimens should be refrigerated (maximum 16 hours of extraction).

Tissue Requirements

Timely delivery/notification is essential. Please call for all incoming specimens.

Tissue requirements:

  • For paraffin blocks, please send the entire block and a Hematoxylin and Eosin (H&E) stained slide.
  • For tissue sections, please send 10 unstained 4-micron formalin fixed paraffin-embedded tissue sections on electrostatically charged slides containing representative tumor.
  • Tissue specimens should be shipped at room temperature.
  • Special Requirements: For MSI studies 10 formalin fixed paraffin-embedded tissue sections (4-micron) are required along with 4.0 ml of EDTA peripheral blood or normal tissue from the same patient.

The quality and accuracy of laboratory test results are highly dependent on proper specimen collection, handling and transportation. In case of an appropriate system of collection and transport is not available, we can provide it to the Service that requires it.

The containers used must be hermetic and correctly labeled, indicating type of sample, anatomical origin, patient’s full name, number of identification, and date and hour of extraction.

A printed copy of the request form should go together with the specimens:

Unidad de Investigación Clínica de Diagnóstico Molecular
Laboratorio 306A
Melchor Fernández Almagro, 3 E
28029 Madrid

The following guidelines will help insure the integrity of each specimen collected and forwarded to CNIO for testing:


The samples must be sent in suitable containers that assure their integrity during the transport.

  • The sample must be included in a primary container that must be hermetic and correctly labeled, indicating type of sample, patient full name, patient identification number, and date and hour of the extraction. Do not include sharp elements like Needles, etc
  • The primary container must be protected in a suitable physical protector for the shipping conditions:
    • bubble paper in the case of shipments at room temperature.
    • plastic bag for shipments with dry ice.
  • The primary container must be included in a secondary container that could be of cardboard, plastic, etc., which must be correctly labelled with the data of the petitioner and the addressee (CNIO).
  • Enclose the request form and all the needed information

Specimen Rejection Criteria

The specimens will be inspected at arrival to verify their adjustment to the requirements specified in this document. The Molecular Diagnostic Service will notify the ordering facility of any deficiencies or test cancellations. Listed below are the common causes for test cancellation:

  • Missing patient identification (name/ID number)
  • Inappropriate sample for the study requested.
  • Missing collection time or date
  • No sample origin
  • Incorrectly filled or illegible request form.
  • Frozen whole blood specimens
  • Specimen not shipped in required conditions
  • Broken containers/tubes
  • Clotted specimens
  • Insufficient volume (QNS)

Request Form Filling Instructions

In the request form (pdf, in Spanish) they must appear all the necessary data for the identification of the sample and complete information on the patient, the specimen and the studies requested. In summary, the request form (pdf, in Spanish) must include (with legible characters) the following information:

Patient Data

  • Name
  • Last Name
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security # / Insurance company and policy #
  • Clinical History number

Requester Data

  • Name
  • Last Name
  • Telephone
  • Address to send the report
  • E-mail
  • Hospital / Company
  • Unit / Department

Sample Data

  • Sample type
  • Anatomic site where the sample was taken
  • Method of sample extraction
  • Date and time of extraction
  • Test requested

Clinical Data

  • Diagnostic (do not use acronyms)
  • Other clinical data
  • Actual treatment (specify if not getting any)

Timely delivery/notification is essential. Please call for all incoming specimens (917 328 052).