A subsidiary of the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf

DNA Strang

Research resources

The Martini-Klinik uses an extensive database of more than 34,000 past patients to research and develop new diagnostic and treatment methods for prostate cancer. This pool of data is one of the world’s most important databases for research projects.

Networked information: the database 

Our database stores disease-related information on patients who have been diagnosed with prostate carcinoma and complies with stringent statutory requirements for data protection.
In addition to data such as the patient’s PSA level, age and precise details of their tumour diagnosis before treatment, we also record the results of the histological examination of the removed prostate. Following treatment, we are primarily interested in our patients’ quality of life, particularly given the potential risks to their potency and continence. This information remains useful to us even years after surgery and plays a decisive role in the development of new treatments. We also analyse responses regarding diet and exercise as part of our research into cancer prevention.
In addition to supporting research, the data we collect is also vital for our in-house quality control processes. In general, a consultant performing surgery will not find out what happened to their patients through the years, as their usual doctors will oversee their post-surgical care. Here at the Martini-Klinik, our surgeons use the data we collect to monitor, compare and continuously improve their treatment outcomes in terms of patients’ potency and continence. This approach, which aims to maximise patients’ wellbeing, is not standard practice anywhere else around the world.


Accompanies you through this topic

Prof. Dr. Derya Tilki
Faculty member

Searching for potential tumour markers: the biomaterial bank

When taking blood samples before a biopsy or radical prostatectomy, in cases of advanced prostate cancer and when measuring a patient’s PSA level, we request an additional sample for our biomaterial bank. We pseudonymise the samples we collect, which involves replacing the patient’s name and date of birth with a code. Once the blood samples have been processed in a specialist urological lab, we store them at –80°C. This means we can use the samples even years later for scientific analyses, such as to test for potential tumour markers. Our biomaterial bank now includes samples from more than 22,000 patients. People with specific authorisation can connect these pseudonymised samples with information in the database.

From molecular changes to personalised treatment: the tissue bank

Research into diseases and disorders is never complete. Many of the mechanisms related to prostate carcinoma remain obscure. In addition to our biomaterial bank, the tissue bank at the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) is the central resource used to research prostate carcinoma at the Martini-Klinik. More than 18,000 samples of prostate cancer tissue lay the foundations for numerous research projects to identify as yet unknown genetic mechanisms of prostate carcinoma.

The tissue microarrays (TMA) form the beating heart of the tissue bank. A working group supported by the Martini-Klinik and the Institute for Pathology at UKE has produced tissue chips with the aim of providing long-term prognoses for prostate cancer patients. These chips can carry tiny tissue samples from thousands of prostate tumours. This makes it possible to examine numerous tumours swiftly and precisely to identify any genetic changes. We use the results of these analyses in research into potential new medications for prostate cancer. Changes in the cells responsible for the formation and aggressiveness of prostate cancer tumours can be analysed at the molecular level and also serve as starting points from which to develop new treatments.