Synoptic Versus Narrative Reporting of Prostate Biopsies at a Tertiary Healthcare Institution : Challenges, successes and expectations

Nnamdi O. Orah, Charles C. Anunobi, Rufus W. Ojewola


Objectives: Cancer pathology reports are expected to contain all information required for patient management and disease surveillance. Moreover, reports for patients with prostate cancer have become increasingly complex with the addition of more pathological details. This study aimed to compare narrative and synoptic prostate cancer reports for core needle biopsies received at a tertiary hospital in Nigeria in order to determine which form was most complete according to international standards. Methods: This study was conducted from January 2010 to December 2015 at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria. All malignant prostate cancer histopathology reports received during this period were analysed for the presence of important clinicopathological parameters, including the numbers of cores taken and those involved by the tumour, percentage of tumour involvement, Gleason score and the presence of high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasms (HGPINs) and perineural and lymphovascular invasion. Results: A total of 83 reports were reviewed, of which 27 were in narrative and 56 in synoptic format. The documentation of clinicopathological characteristics in narrative reports was significantly incomplete compared to synoptic reports in recording the number of cores (33.3% versus 96.4%), number of cores involved by the tumour (11.1% versus 94.6%), percentage of cores involved by the tumour (3.7% versus 100.0%) and the presence of HGPINs (7.4% versus 100.0%) and perineural (59.3% versus 98.2%) and lymphovascular (48.1% versus 100.0%) invasion (P <0.001 each). Conclusion:Synoptic reports of malignant prostate cancer biopsies received at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital were found to contain more complete information than narrative reports.


Pathology; Biopsy; Prostate Cancer; Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia; Nigeria.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

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