Histopathology reporting of breast cancer in Queensland: the impact on the quality of reporting as a result of the introduction of recommendations

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Recommendations for the pathology reporting of breast cancer were released in Australia to ensure detailed communication of important prognostic features and good patient management. An audit of the reporting of invasive breast cancer in Queensland was conducted to determine how well these guidelines were utilised in 2004.


A random sample of reports was audited for inclusion of recommended criteria. The proportion of reports meeting each of the criteria was determined and compared across whether the report was in a synoptic report template or in a free text format. Comparison was made with published data from prior to the release of the recommendations.


Of the 419 reports in the sample, at least 90% of reports included lesion size, histological type, histological grade, lymph node involvement, margins of excision, lymphovascular invasion, and changes in adjacent breast tissue individually, and 74% included all seven of these essential criteria. Synoptic reports accounted for 76% of the sample and were significantly more likely to have documented grade (p < 0.001), quadrant (p = 0.003), calcification (p < 0.001), lymphovascular invasion (p < 0.001), changes in non-neoplastic breast (p < 0.001) and ductal carcinoma in situ criteria (p < 0.001) compared with free text report format. The most notable improvements since the implementation of the recommendations were in documentation of adjacent breast tissue (92% versus 49%) and lymphovascular invasion (97% versus 54%).


Breast cancer reporting in Queensland has improved since the implementation of the recommendations, however further improvements would likely be seen if there is more widespread utilisation of a synoptic report format.

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