Prognostic effects of doctor-associated diagnostic delays in osteosarcoma

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IntroductionIn this retrospective study, we evaluated to what extent diagnostic delays impact prognosis in osteosarcoma.Materials and methodsThe authors identified 26 osteosarcoma patients who had undergone inappropriate procedure-associated diagnostic delays of more than 45 days after surgery, calculated overall survival rates, and analyzed clinicopathologic characteristics.ResultsInitial clinical impressions were of a benign bone tumor in 15 patients, fracture in 8, and infection in 3. After initial inappropriate procedures, primary surgeons failed to send a tissue sample to a pathologist for definite diagnosis in 12 cases, and pathologists made incorrect diagnoses in the other 14. The average doctor-associated diagnostic delay after inappropriate surgery for these 26 patients was 10.5 months. Following referral to our institute, 22 underwent both surgery and chemotherapy and the remaining 4 patients underwent chemotherapy only. Four of the 26 patients were alive at last follow-ups. Estimated 5- and 10-year overall survival rates were 26 and 10%, respectively.ConclusionsThe present study shows that doctor-associated diagnostic delay superimposed on an inappropriate primary procedure has a significant detrimental effect on overall survival in osteosarcoma. This study demonstrates that surgeons and pathologists should spare no effort to minimize diagnostic errors and delays.

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