UK Biobank (UKB)

The UK Biobank resource aims to include 500,000 people from all around Great Britain who are currently aged 40-69. This age group is being studied because it involves people at risk over the next few decades of developing a wide range of important diseases (including cancer, hear disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia). The UK National Health Service treats the single largest group of people anywhere in the world, and keeps detailed records on all of them from birth to death. Consequently, prolonged follow-up of participants through routine medical and other health-related records will allow the identification of comparatively large numbers of individuals who develop each of a wide range of disabling and life-threatening conditions. Because UK Biobank will involve extensive baseline questionnaire and physical measures, as well as stored blood and urine samples that allow many different types of assay (e.g. genetic, proteomic, metabonomic, biochemical and haematologic) it will be a uniquely rich resource for investigating why some people develop particular diseases while others do not. This will help researchers to understand the causes of diseases better, and to find new ways to prevent and treat many different conditions.

General Information

General Design

Study design: 
Cohort study
Recruitment target: 
Target number of participants: 
500 000
Target number of participants with biological samples: 
500 000
Supplementary information about target number of participants: 

In addition blood, urine, and saliva, the following biospecimens are available:

  • Plasma: 487 807 participants
  • Serum: 486 028 participants
  • DNA: 171 055 participants
  • RNA: 128 044 participants

Genotype data will be available for all 500,000 participants in the UK Biobank cohort. It is expected to be available towards the end of 2015.


Access to external researchers or third parties provided or foreseen for
Data (questionnaire-derived, measured...): 
Biological samples: 

Marker Paper

Marker paper: 
The UK Biobank sample handling and storage protocol for the collection, processing and archiving of human blood and urine. Elliott P et al. Int J Epidemiol 2008
Pubmed ID: 

Supplementary Information

Endpoints (N incident cases)

Head and Neck (C00-C14; C31, C32) = 55
Esophagus (C15) = 200
Stomach (C16) = 137
Colorectal (C18-21) = 1256
Liver (C22) = 90
Gallbladder (C23-24) = 86
Pancreas (C25) = 180
Lung (C33-34) = 706
Breast (C50) = 2320
Cervix (C53) = 
Uterine cancer (C54:C55) = 354
Ovary (C56) = 238
Prostate (C61) = 2080
Total cancers (C00-C97) excluding non-melanoma skin cancer = NA

Cardiovascular endpoints
Acute coronary events = NA
Stroke = NA

Other endpoints
Type II diabetes (E11) = NA


Note: the latest details on the number of deaths, incident and prevalent cancer cases are available in the UK Biobank Health Outcomes report on this link. The latest details on cancer prevalent and incident cases are available on this link.