Haematological malignancies often escape the standard information flows of cancer registries because diagnosis is not always based on bone marrow histology but, rather, on other laboratory tests.
To quantify incident haematological malignancies identified exclusively through the laboratory information system and to measure the impact of that source on the sensitivity and accuracy of registering these malignancies.
We collected data from the only provincial laboratory of Reggio Emilia on molecular biology, flow cytometry tests and bone marrow smears to detect specific markers of some chronic haematological malignancies. We carried out a record linkage between laboratory reports (period 2013–2017) of patients resident in the province of Reggio Emilia and the Cancer Registry of Reggio Emilia.
Of the 303 patients who underwent at least one of these tests, 85 were not included in our Cancer Registry. Of these 85 patients, 42 had received a diagnosis of cancer: 34 myeloproliferative neoplasms, 3 chronic myeloid leukaemias, 3 myelodysplastic neoplasms, 1 multiple myeloma and 1 chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. We recovered 4.2% of the total number of chronic haemolymphopoietic cancers registered in the study period, accounting for 15% of myeloproliferative neoplasms. For 30% of prelinkage cases, the specificity of the morphological code improved.
Although the laboratory information system’s contribution to the completeness of Cancer Registry incident cases was modest, it is useful to add laboratory data to routine cancer registry information flows due to the increasing use of molecular characterisation and to the phenomenon of dehospitalisation.