OncoLifeS - Oncological Life Study

Oncological data-biobank contributing to healthy ageing. Cohort
Oncological data-biobank contributing to healthy ageing.
We link comprehensive and high-quality routine clinical data and biological samples with quality of life and the patient's perspective.

We prospectively include adult patients (aged > 18 years) who are diagnosed with cancer or who are found to be genetically predisposed to cancer. Patients are included only after written informed consent has been obtained.

OncoLifeS aims to: 

  • providing an infrastructure for clinical cancer research;
  • using translational research to set the stage for personalized patient care;
  • monitoring and improving quality of care.

The OncoLifeS infographic gives a visual representation of what we do. 

  • We prospectively included people either diagnosed with cancer or found to be genetically predisposed to cancer. Overall, approximately 70% of patients who were approached have agreed to participate. At this moment, more than 5,500 patients diagnosed with cancer have been prospectively included in our data-biobank. In addition, more than 10,000 patients have been included retrospectively.

  • The OncoLifeS data-biobank is embedded in a large academic hospital, which ensures structured data storage and management, with continued adherence to legal and ethical standards.

    Historical databases (i.e. retrospective inclusions) can become part of the OncoLifeS data-biobank as well, in compliance with legal and ethical standards.

    Other studies within the scope of the 1998 Medical Research Involving Human Subjects Act (in Dutch: WMO) can use the methods of the OncoLifeS initiative for data collection, data storage, and biomaterial collection and processing, provided that they have established appropriate governance procedures and obtained ethical approval.

  • Please visit the UMCG Research Data Catalogue for more detailed information on our data and samples. 

    Clinical data collected from the electronic medical records

    • General patient information (e.g. gender, date of birth);
    • Clinical history (e.g. comorbidities);
    • Outcome of the Adult Comorbidity Evaluation 27 (ACE-27);
    • Clinical and pathological diagnosis (e.g. tumour type, radiological images);
    • Surgical treatment (type, date of surgery);
    • Radiotherapy (e.g. type, start date);
    • Systemic therapy (e.g. type, start date).


    • Family history;
    • Lifestyle (e.g. smoking);
    • Social conditions (e.g. marital status);
    • Quality of life (e.g. EORTC QLQ-C30);
    • Daily living activities (IADL-Q);
    • Frailty (e.g. G8 questionnaire);
    • Mental status (e.g. GDS-15, MMSE).


    • Serum
    • EDTA plasma + buffy coat (DNA);
    • Heparin plasma;
    • Plasma (for cell-free DNA);
    • Whole blood (for DNA or RNA);
    • Bone marrow;
    • Faeces swab in glycerol b;
    • Faeces;
    • Urine;
    • Tumour tissue (for paraffin embedding);
    • Tissue adjacent to a tumour (for frozen section examination);
    • Tissue adjacent to a tumour (for paraffin embedding);
    • Healthy tissue (for frozen section examination).
  • Applications for the use of data and/or bodily material stored in the OncoLifeS Data biobank should be submitted to the secretary of the Science Committee by the applicant/researcher.

    The Science Committee of the data biobank OncoLifeS consists of members of the participating tumor working groups/oncology departments, supplemented by members of relevant support departments such as Pathology, Multidisciplinary Oncology Laboratory, Genetics, and a secretary.

    The committee advises on whether or not to approve requests for the use of human tissue from the data biobank and the associated clinical data.

    Members of the Science Committee:

    • Steven de Jong; Professor of Preclinical and Translational Oncology
    • Bea Wisman; PHd Medical oncology
    • Arjen Cleven; Pathologist
    • Boukje van Dijk; Epidemiologist
    • Jeroen Hilterman; Pulmonary
    • Miranda Kramer; Radiation Oncologist
    • Sjoukje Oosting; Medical Oncologist
    • Boudewijn Plaat; Otorhinolaryngologist
    • JJ Schuringa; Professor of Experimental Hematology
    • Janny Nagel; secretary
  • Smart and motivated researchers are needed to perform research at OncoLifeS. As a researcher, your main focus is on further developing one of the above-mentioned research lines by, for instance, collecting research data from patients and entering and analysing big data.

    You will learn a great deal about oncology patients as well as conduct and organize scientific research. Positions are available for Bachelor’s and Master’s students with a medical or biomedical background, such as medicine.

    The number of working hours will be decided on in consultation and the compensation offered will depend on the internship conditions and the collective labour agreement.

  • Please contact us for the full list of publications.


How OncoLifeS benefits to society

Care for cancer patients is one of the focal points of the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG). Research into the development of cancer and the discovery of new successful treatment methods to cure patients and to maintain quality of life fits in with this. For more information, please visit: UMC Groningen Comprehensive Cancer Center.

  • All patients with newly diagnosed cancer are invited to participate in OncoLifeS.

    After informed consent has been obtained, several data will be recorded. These include tumour and patient characteristics, quality of life, social support, physical presentation, and functional, cognitive, psychological, and nutritional status. In addition, cancer biopsies will be taken and blood will be collected.

    Found out more on: Information for patients about OncoLifeS (in Dutch)

  • Access

    External researchers who are interested can submit a research proposal to the coordinator of the OncoLifeS data-biobank. The template that can be used to submit the proposal can be provided upon request.


    • The aim of the research proposal should fit in with the objectives of OncoLifeS.
    • Collaboration with the relevant tumour board is indicated.
  • To mark the 10,000th inclusion, OncoLifeS organised a symposium at the UMCG on Monday 22 January 2024. It reflected on all the research done so far and looked ahead to the future. Inspiring speakers shared their insights. You can watch the symposium here.


Janny Nagel
Janny Nagel Cohort coordinator

University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)
PO Box 30.001
9700 RB Groningen
The Netherlands

Visiting address
University Medical Center Groningen
Hanzeplein 1
9713 GZ Groningen
The Netherlands

More information website research department Medical Oncology