BACKGROUND: Validation studies of the Danish Breast Cancer Group (DBCG) registry show good agreement with medical records for adjuvant treatment data, but inconsistent recurrence information. No studies have validated changes in menopausal status or endocrine therapy during follow-up. In a longitudinal study, we validated DBCG data using medical records as the gold standard.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: From a cohort of 5959 premenopausal women diagnosed during 2002-2010 with stage I-III breast cancer, we selected 151 patients - 77 estrogen-receptor-positive and 74 estrogen-receptor-negative - from three hospitals. We assessed the validity of DBCG registry data on patient, tumor, and treatment factors, and follow-up information on menopausal transition, changes in endocrine therapy, and recurrence. We computed positive predictive values (PPVs) with 95% confidence intervals (95%CI).
RESULTS: Agreement was near perfect for tumor size, lymph node involvement, receptor status, surgery type, and receipt of radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or tamoxifen treatment. The PPV for a change in endocrine therapy in the DBCG was 96% (95%CI = 83, 100). The PPV for menopausal transition was 61% (95%CI = 42, 77). The PPV for DBCG-recorded recurrence was 100%. However, of 19 patients who had a recurrence documented in their medical record, 13 had the recurrence registered in DBCG.
CONCLUSIONS: DBCG data are valid for most epidemiological studies of breast cancer treatment. Data on menopausal transition may be less valid, though this interpretation depends on the suitability of medical records for making this assessment. Although recurrence is missing for some, this would not bias most ratio measures of association.