Janus Serum Bank

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Janus Serum Bank is a population-based biobank reserved for cancer research which contains blood samples from 318 628 Norwegians. The biobank is internationally unique in terms of size and cancer cases. On these pages you will find useful information for participants and researchers.

During the period 1972 to 2004 samples were collected from people who participated in different health surveys across Norway as well as blood donors from Oslo and surrounding areas. The samples are stored at –25° Celsius and can be used for cancer research. 

Annual linkage to the Cancer Registry of Norway show that there are registered 118 405 cancer cases among the participants in Janus Serum Bank as of December 31 2022.


Janus Serum Bank's purpose is cancer research. Biological material and personal health data from Janus Serum Bank are used for analyzes and research that can provide knowledge about the population's health, but cannot be used for purposes that are inconsistent with the original purpose.

Janus Serum Bank is a general research biobank with approval from the Regional Committee for Medical and Health Research Ethics (REK), ref. 2017/366.

Janus Serum Bank has a legal basis for processing health data according to the EU's personal data protection regulation (REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL (EU) 2016/679 of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data) Article 6(1)(e) and Article 9(2)(j), and Regulations on population-based health examinations (FOR-2018-04-27-645).

The Cancer Registry of Norway is the institution responsible for research and the data controller is Norwegian Institute of Public Health, where the daily responsibilities is appointed to the Cancer Registry of Norway. The person responsible for Janus Serum Bank is Hilde Langseth, MSc, Ph.D.


The JanusRNA-project is on the cover of the lung cancer association's member magazine "Pust" with the article "Biomarkers can reveal early stages of lung cancer". The JanusRNA project uses material from the Janus Serum Bank. Read the entire article here.







The JanusRNA project which uses material from Janus Serum Bank is mentioned in the gyn cancer association's member magazine "Afrodite". Read the full article on how biomarkers can reveal ovarian cancer here.





This year marks 50 years since the first samples were collected for the Janus serum bank. The 50-year anniversary was marked on Wednesday November 8th, 2023, with a one-day seminar at the Cancer Registry. Over 50 colleagues and guests attended the celebration.

On the list of speakers were representatives from the National Cancer Institute, USA, the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, the University of Oslo and Bergen, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the Norwegian Cancer Society, NTNU/HUNT, the University of North Carolina, USA, and the Janus serum bank's steering committee. Throughout the day, the presenters took us through the history of the biobank, national and international research projects that use the material from the biobank and plans for large-scale OMICS analyzes and re-use of data. Among the topics were environmental toxins and cancer, infections and cancer, machine learning in Janus, and FAIR data sharing. Janus biobanks leader, Hilde Langseth, both opened and closed the anniversary and drew the common thread from the serum bank's establishment to areas of investment going forward.

The program and all the presentations from the day are available here. 

Janus serum bank was named after the Roman god Janus with two faces, one looking into the future and one looking into the past. This symbolizes the possibility using the biological material both for prospective and retrospective studies. The Janus serum bank is a research biobank specifically aimed at cancer and the bank has been integrated into the Cancer Registry of Norway since 2004.

The Janus serum bank is population-based and consists of pre-diagnostic serum samples from around 318,628 Norwegians collected in the period 1972-2004. Of these, more than 118,405 have since developed cancer (as of the end of 2022). The fact that the samples are collected in the time window before a cancer diagnosis makes Janus ideal for studies of the causes of cancer, early markers for cancer and prognostic markers for cancer, and the results have been published in a number of recognized journals. Equivalent to similar biobanks, Janus aims to generate large-scale data, particularly in proteomics and metabolomics, thereby digitalizing as much data as possible for future research.

Published: 2024-02-29

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of persistent and bioaccumulative chemicals that are classified as possibly carcinogenic. Some studies have reported an increased incidence of urological cancer when exposed to PFAS, but there is still a lack of documentation at the population level. In this project, we will study the connection between kidney and testicular cancer and exposure to PFAS. These forms of cancer have increased in incidence after PFAS were introduced in Norway. Historical samples from the Janus Serum Bank will be used to measure PFAS levels from more than 1,000 patients and an equally large control group. The connection between occupation and place of residence and possible molecular changes due to PFAS exposure will be investigated. Using mathematical modelling, PFAS levels in individuals will be investigated over time. The aim is to assess the risk posed by PFAS exposure, find possible exposure biomarkers and reference values ​​with a view to prevention.

The project is financed by the Norwegian Cancer Society and has been approved by the Regional Committees for Medical and Health Research Ethics (REK no. 695237 REK south-east A) and the principal investigator is senior researcher Marcin Wojewodzic at the Cancer Registry of Norway.

Published: 2023-03-13

Ovarian cancer is a disease with relatively poor survival - five years after the patient has been diagnosed, just slightly more than half of the women are still alive. Cancer in the surface layer of the ovaries is often detected late because the symptoms are diffuse and uncharacteristic, and the disease is therefore difficult to diagnose. There is also no effective strategy for early detection of this form of cancer.

Micro-RNA (miRNA) are molecules in the body's cells that have important tasks in regulating which genes are switched on and off (gene regulation).

Previous studies have shown promising results for selected miRNAs as possible early biomarkers for ovarian cancer. In this project, a validation of the relevant miRNA panel for the early detection of ovarian cancer will be carried out. The material to be included are serum samples from women who submitted a sample to the Janus serum bank prior to the diagnosis of ovarian cancer. These samples must then be compared with corresponding samples from women who have not developed cancer. The project is a European collaboration where biological material from several other cohorts will be included.

The study has been approved by the Regional Committees for Medical and Health Research Ethics (REK), no. 551921 REK south-east A, and the project manager is senior researcher Renée Turzanski Fortner at the Norwegian Cancer Registry.

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Cohort Profile: The Janus Serum Bank Cohort in Norway

Langseth H, Gislefoss RE, Martinsen JI, Dillner J, Ursin G.

Int J Epidemiol. 2016. Epub. Apr 10. 

DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyw027


Cohort Profile Update -Completeness of standardized variables.png

Cohort Profile Update: The Janus Serum Bank Cohort in Norway

Hjerkind KV, Gislefoss RE, Tretli S, Nystad W, Bjørge T, Engeland A, Meyer HE, Holvik K, Ursin GLangseth H.

Int J Epidemiol. 2017 Aug 1;46(4):1101-1102f.

DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyw302

Jakten på biomarkører -Antall prosjekter fordelt på kreftform.png

Janus serumbank - Jakten på biomarkører

Langseth H, Kymre K, Slyngstad T, Rounge TB, Gislefoss RE, Lauritzen M.

Norsk Epidemiologi. 2022. 30 (1-2).

DOI: 10.5324/nje.v30i1-2.4983

The Cancer Registry of Norway and Janus Serum Bank are active collaboration partners in Biobank Norge 3 and 4. This is a consortium with ten partners, created to create a national biobank infrastructure for health research.

Visit Biobank Norway's homepage here.

Institution responsible for research:
Cancer Registry of Norway

Contact person for institution responsible for research:
Giske Ursin, MD, PhD, director 

Responsible for the biobank:
Hilde Langseth, PhD, head

Hilde Langseth, head, senior researcher, PhD        
Marianne Lauritzen, advisor, MSc
Tove Slyngstad, advisor, BSc
Katarina Baumgarten Skogstrøm, advisor, MSc
Marie Udnesseter Lie, data manager, PhD

E-mail: janus@kreftregisteret.no
Telephone: +47 224 51 300