Incorporating breast cancer recurrence events into population-based cancer registries using medical claims: Cohort study

Teresa A'mar, J. David Beatty, Catherine Fedorenko, Daniel Markowitz, Thomas Corey, Jane Lange, Stephen M. Schwartz, Bin Huang, Jessica Chubak, Ruth Etzioni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: There is a need for automated approaches to incorporate information on cancer recurrence events into population-based cancer registries. Objective: The aim of this study is to determine the accuracy of a novel data mining algorithm to extract information from linked registry and medical claims data on the occurrence and timing of second breast cancer events (SBCE). Methods: We used supervised data from 3092 stage I and II breast cancer cases (with 394 recurrences), diagnosed between 1993 and 2006 inclusive, of patients at Kaiser Permanente Washington and cases in the Puget Sound Cancer Surveillance System. Our goal was to classify each month after primary treatment as pre- versus post-SBCE. The prediction feature set for a given month consisted of registry variables on disease and patient characteristics related to the primary breast cancer event, as well as features based on monthly counts of diagnosis and procedure codes for the current, prior, and future months. A month was classified as post-SBCE if the predicted probability exceeded a probability threshold (PT); the predicted time of the SBCE was taken to be the month of maximum increase in the predicted probability between adjacent months. Results: The Kaplan-Meier net probability of SBCE was 0.25 at 14 years. The month-level receiver operating characteristic curve on test data (20% of the data set) had an area under the curve of 0.986. The person-level predictions (at a monthly PT of 0.5) had a sensitivity of 0.89, a specificity of 0.98, a positive predictive value of 0.85, and a negative predictive value of 0.98. The corresponding median difference between the observed and predicted months of recurrence was 0 and the mean difference was 0.04 months. Conclusions: Data mining of medical claims holds promise for the streamlining of cancer registry operations to feasibly collect information about second breast cancer events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere18143
JournalJMIR Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast cancer
  • Cancer recurrence event
  • Cancer registries
  • Data mining
  • Medical claims
  • Medical informatics
  • Statistical learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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