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, 8 (7), e019264

Accuracy of Administrative Databases in Detecting Primary Breast Cancer Diagnoses: A Systematic Review


Accuracy of Administrative Databases in Detecting Primary Breast Cancer Diagnoses: A Systematic Review

Iosief Abraha et al. BMJ Open.


Objective: To define the accuracy of administrative datasets to identify primary diagnoses of breast cancer based on the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) 9th or 10th revision codes.

Design: Systematic review.

Data sources: MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science and the Cochrane Library (April 2017).

Eligibility criteria: The inclusion criteria were: (a) the presence of a reference standard; (b) the presence of at least one accuracy test measure (eg, sensitivity) and (c) the use of an administrative database.

Data extraction: Eligible studies were selected and data extracted independently by two reviewers; quality was assessed using the Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic accuracy criteria.

Data analysis: Extracted data were synthesised using a narrative approach.

Results: From 2929 records screened 21 studies were included (data collection period between 1977 and 2011). Eighteen studies evaluated ICD-9 codes (11 of which assessed both invasive breast cancer (code 174.x) and carcinoma in situ (ICD-9 233.0)); three studies evaluated invasive breast cancer-related ICD-10 codes. All studies except one considered incident cases.The initial algorithm results were: sensitivity ≥80% in 11 of 17 studies (range 57%-99%); positive predictive value was ≥83% in 14 of 19 studies (range 15%-98%) and specificity ≥98% in 8 studies. The combination of the breast cancer diagnosis with surgical procedures, chemoradiation or radiation therapy, outpatient data or physician claim may enhance the accuracy of the algorithms in some but not all circumstances. Accuracy for breast cancer based on outpatient or physician's data only or breast cancer diagnosis in secondary position diagnosis resulted low.

Conclusion: Based on the retrieved evidence, administrative databases can be employed to identify primary breast cancer. The best algorithm suggested is ICD-9 or ICD-10 codes located in primary position.

Trial registration number: CRD42015026881.

Keywords: accuracy; administrative database; breast cancer; sensitivity and specificity; systematic review; validity.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: None declared.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Study screening process.

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