The Value of Real-World Data in Understanding Prostate Cancer Risk and Improving Clinical Care: Examples from Swedish Registries

Cancers (Basel). 2021 Feb 19;13(4):875. doi: 10.3390/cancers13040875.


Real-world data (RWD), that is, data from sources other than controlled clinical trials, play an increasingly important role in medical research. The development of quality clinical registers, increasing access to administrative data sources, growing computing power and data linkage capacities have contributed to greater availability of RWD. Evidence derived from RWD increases our understanding of prostate cancer (PCa) aetiology, natural history and effective management. While randomised controlled trials offer the best level of evidence for establishing the efficacy of medical interventions and making causal inferences, studies using RWD offer complementary evidence about the effectiveness, long-term outcomes and safety of interventions in real-world settings. RWD provide the only means of addressing questions about risk factors and exposures that cannot be "controlled", or when assessing rare outcomes. This review provides examples of the value of RWD for generating evidence about PCa, focusing on studies using data from a quality clinical register, namely the National Prostate Cancer Register (NPCR) Sweden, with longitudinal data on advanced PCa in Patient-overview Prostate Cancer (PPC) and data linkages to other sources in Prostate Cancer data Base Sweden (PCBaSe).

Keywords: administrative data; clinical registry; management; prostate cancer; real-world data; risk.

Publication types

  • Review