Estimating the effect of an intensive surveillance program on stage of breast carcinoma at diagnosis: A propensity score analysis

Nandita Mitra, Freya R. Schnabel, Alfred I. Neugut, Daniel F. Heitjan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. The authors used propensity score adjustment to investigate the impact of intensive screening on stage of breast carcinoma at diagnosis in women who were at elevated risk for breast carcinoma. METHODS. The authors compared 58 women participating in a surveillance program at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center of New York Presbyterian Hospital who developed breast carcinoma with 3022 nonparticipating breast carcinoma patients. A propensity score was constructed for each woman by using important background covariates, and multivariable regression modeling was used to estimate the association of program membership with disease stage after adjusting for the propensity score. RESULTS. Before propensity score adjustment, nine baseline covariates significantly differed between the two groups (number of pregnancies, number of births, age at first delivery, race, how the tumor was discovered, history of prior breast disease, breast carcinoma in mother, breast carcinoma in maternal aunt, and breast carcinoma in sister), and there was a significant difference in stage at diagnosis. After adjustment, no significant differences remained. Program participants were more likely to have lower stage tumors at diagnosis than nonparticipants, but this association did not reach statistical significance (odds ratio, 1.52; 95% confidence interval, 0.94-2.46). CONCLUSIONS. Propensity score methods can remove bias in treatment comparisons in observational studies. An intensive surveillance program at a major cancer center may have had some effect on improving stage at diagnosis, but this effect was not statistically significant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1709-1715
Number of pages7
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2001


  • Breast carcinoma
  • Observational study
  • Propensity score
  • Regression adjustment
  • Screening
  • Stage
  • Stratification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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