Variations in prostate biopsy practice: A quantitative questionnaire-based study

Authors

  • Matthew O. Lipinski Division of Cancer Care and Epidemiology, Cancer Research Institute, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada; and Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  • D. Robert Siemens Department of Oncology, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada; and Department of Urology, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  • Patti A. Groome Division of Cancer Care and Epidemiology, Cancer Research Institute, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada; and Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5489/cuaj.372

Keywords:

Prostate Neoplasm, Biopsy, Variation Patterns, Survey

Abstract

Background: The ambivalent results of recent large randomized prostate cancer studies have added a significant layer of uncertainty for clinicians and patients contemplating investigation of early disease. This uncertainty and lack of prescriptive recommendations from professional organizations has led to significant variation in practice in North America. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent of variation in biopsy recommendations by urologists and to discern factors predictive for these recommendations.

Methods: An anonymous, cross-sectional, self-report questionnaire was sent to all active members of the Canadian Urological Association practicing in Ontario. The survey consisted of demographic data and 10 closed-ended questions designed to capture biopsy preferences in ambiguous clinical situations. Respondent preferences for recommending a prostate biopsy were compared to a guideline-informed study standard. Descriptive and correlative statistics were used to analyze the responses.

Results: The response rate to the survey was 74%. The responses showed considerable variability in recommendations for or against biopsy. While most of the urologists concurred with the research team’s study standard recommendations, only 4 scenarios had over 80% concurrence and 1 scenario, which centered on the utility of free PSA, had only had 42% concurrence. None of the respondent’s descriptors were associated with trends to recommend biopsy other than the number of biopsies performed per year (p = 0.04).

Interpretation: This self-report survey investigating prostate biopsy thresholds identifies considerable variation in practicing urologists in Ontario. The drivers of biopsy recommendations in these relatively ambiguous clinical situations appeared to be age, suspicious rectal examinations, and total PSA.

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Published

2013-11-08

How to Cite

Lipinski, M. O., Siemens, D. R., & Groome, P. A. (2013). Variations in prostate biopsy practice: A quantitative questionnaire-based study. Canadian Urological Association Journal, 7(11-12), e732–9. https://doi.org/10.5489/cuaj.372

Issue

Section

Original Research