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 December 31, 2006
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.