The Quality of Surgical Pathology Care for Men Undergoing Radical Prostatectomy in the U.S.

Published in: Cancer, v. 109, no. 12, June 15, 2007, p. 2445-2453

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2007

by David C. Miller, Benjamin A. Spencer, Rajal B. Shah, Jamie Ritchey, Andrew K. Stewart, E. Greer Gay, Rodney L. Dunn, John T. Wei, Mark Litwin

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BACKGROUND: The authors assessed adherence with the College of American Pathologists (CAP) radical prostatectomy (RP) practice protocol in a national sample of men who underwent RP for early-stage prostate cancer. METHODS: Using the National Cancer Data Base, the authors identified a nationally representative sample of 1240 men (unweighted) who underwent RP. For each patient, local cancer registrars performed an explicit medical record review to assess patient-level compliance with surgical pathology report documentation of 7 morphologic criteria (ie, quality indicators). Applying the CAP prognostic factor classification framework, composite measures and all-or-none measures of quality indicator compliance were calculated for the following analytic categories: 1) a strict subset of CAP category I prognostic factors (3 indicators), 2) a broad subset of CAP category I factors (6 indicators), and 3) the full set of 7 indicators. RESULTS: Among a weighted sample of 24,420 patients who underwent RP, compliance with documentation of the CAP category I factors varied from 54% (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 50-58%) for pathologic tumor, lymph node, metastases classification (according to the American Joint Committee on Cancer staging system) to 97% (95% CI, 96-99%) for Gleason score. In composite, RP pathology reports contained 83% (95% CI, 81-84%), 85% (95% CI, 84-87%), and 79% (95% CI, 78-80%) of the recommended data elements measured by the strict CAP category I subset, the broad CAP category I subset, and the full set of 7 indicators, respectively. In contrast to the generally higher composite scores, only 52% (95% CI, 48-56%) and 41% (95% CI, 37-45%) of men who underwent RP had complete documentation in their pathology reports for the strict and broad CAP category I subsets, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: RP surgical pathology reports contained most of the recommended data elements; however, the frequent absence of pathologic stage provides an opportunity for quality improvement.

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