Publication Abstract

Authors: Guadagnolo BA, Xu Y, Zagars GK, Cormier JN, Pollock RE, Feig BW, Giordano S, Buchholz TA, Shih YC

Title: A population-based study of the quality of care in the diagnosis of large (≥5 cm) soft tissue sarcomas.

Journal: Am J Clin Oncol 35(5):455-61

Date: 2012 Oct

Abstract: PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to assess preoperative biopsy utilization for patients with soft tissue sarcoma (STS) of ≥5 cm in size and whether or not preoperative biopsy was associated with fewer surgical procedures to adequately treat these tumors. METHODS: We identified 899 patients from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare database with a diagnosis of STS and who underwent surgical resection of their tumors between 1992 and 2006. We used diagnosis and procedure codes from claims data to identify which patients had a biopsy performed and the corresponding number of surgical procedures for each patient. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were carried out to assess the influence of patient, tumor, and sociodemographic characteristics on performance of biopsy and the likelihood of multiple STS operations. RESULTS: Only 40.6% of patients with tumors of ≥5 cm in size underwent biopsy as part of initial management of their STS. In multivariate analysis, biopsy utilization varied significantly by sex, tumor size, grade, and geographic region. After adjusting for patient, tumor, and sociodemographic characteristics, receipt of a biopsy was the only factor significantly associated with reduced likelihood of multiple STS operations (odds ratio=0.34, 95% confidence interval, 0.24-0.49). CONCLUSION: Preoperative biopsy utilization among Medicare beneficiaries undergoing surgery for STS of ≥5 cm in size is low. Performance of a biopsy for patients with soft tissue tumors of ≥5 cm in size is associated with a decreased likelihood of a patient undergoing multiple surgeries for treatment of STS.