BRISQ - Biospecimen Reporting for Improved Study Quality

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BRISQ - Biospecimen Reporting for Improved Study Quality

In 2011, the NIH released a set of recommendations for the publication of studies using human biospecimens1. These guidelines are applicable to animal biospecimens as well. According to the authors, "biospecimens are subject to a number of different collection, processing, and storage factors that can significantly alter their molecular composition and consistency. These biospecimen preanalytical factors, in turn, influence experimental outcomes and the ability to reproduce scientific results. Currently, the extent and type of information specific to the biospecimen preanalytical conditions reported in scientific publications and regulatory submissions varies widely. To improve the quality of research utilizing human tissues it is critical that information regarding the handling of biospecimens be reported in a thorough, accurate, and standardized manner. The Biospecimen Reporting for Improved Study Quality (BRISQ) recommendations outlined herein are intended to apply to any study in which Biospecimens are used. The purpose of reporting these details is to supply others, from researchers to regulators, with more consistent and standardized information to better evaluate, interpret, compare, and reproduce the experimental results. The BRISQ guidelines are proposed as an important and timely resource tool to strengthen communication and publications around biospecimen-related research and help reassure contributors and the advocacy community that the contributions are valued and respected".

Similar guidelines have been published to address the need to integrate the 3Rs principles of animal studies and make systematic reviews feasible2.The recommended parameters cover a broader spectrum as BRISQ and go beyond the biospecimen, including information about the study design, the methods used, the description of results, etc. This approach is more suited for the final reporting of the study.


1. Moore HM, Kelly A, Jewell SD, et al. Biospecimen Reporting for Improved Study Quality (BRISQ). Journal of proteome research. 2011;10(8):3429-3438. doi:10.1021/pr200021n. File:Moore 2011 BB BRISQ.pdf

2. Hooijmans CR, Leenaars M, Ritskes-Hoitinga M. A gold standard publication checklist to improve the quality of animal studies, to fully integrate the Three Rs, and to make systematic reviews more feasible. Altern Lab Anim. 2010 May;38(2):167-82. PMID:20507187 File:Hooijmans 2010 3R Gold standard guidelines.pdf

BRISQ modified from Moore et al. 2011:

Quick-Reference BRISQ Summary/Checklist: Tier 1 Items to Report If Known and Applicable
Spalte1 Data Elements Description Examples
1 Biospecimen type Solid tissue, whole blood, or another product Serum, Urine
2 Anatomical site Organ of origin or site of blood draw Liver, Tail
3 Disease status Controls or individuals with the disease of interest Diabetic, Healthy control
4 Clinical characteristics Available information known or believed to be pertinent to the condition of the biospecimens K.O mouse
5 Vital State Alive or deceased animal when biospecimens were obtained Postmortem
6 Diagnosis Diagnoses (determined by history, physical examination, and analyses of the biospecimen) pertinent to the study Stroke
7 Pathology diagnosis Pathology diagnoses (determined by macro and/or microscopic evaluation of the biospecimen at the time of diagnosis and/or prior to research use) pertinent to the study Breast Cancer
8 Collection mechanism How the biospecimens were obtained Fine needle aspiration, Pre-operative blood draw
9 Type of stabilization The initial process by which biospecimens were stabilized during collection Heparin, on ice
10 Type of long-term preservation The process by which the biospecimens were sustained after collection Formalin fixation, freezing
11 Constitution of preservative The make-up of any formulation used to maintain the biospecimens in a non-reactive state 10% neutral-buffered formalin, 10 USP Heparin Units/mL
12 Storage temperature The temperature or range thereof at which the biospecimens were kept until distribution/analysis. -80 °C, 20 to 25°C
13 Storage duration The time or range thereof between biospecimen acquisition and distribution or analysis. 8 days, 5 to 7 years
14 Shipping temperature The temperature or range thereof at which biospecimens were kept during shipment or relocation. -170°C to -190°C
15 Composition assessment & selection Parameters used to choose biospecimens for the study Minimum 80% tumor nuclei & maximum 50% necrosis