The Henrietta Banting Breast Centre database: A model for clinical research utilizing a hospital-based inception cohort
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The cohort study design has been used successfully in clinical cancer research. Cohorts, however, are valuable only if they produce results which are valid and generalizable. Some hospital-based inception cohorts satisfy both these requirements and may thus be useful research tools. The development of one such hospital-based cohort, the Henrietta Banting Breast Centre database, is described. This cohort is composed of 1097 women diagnosed with primary breast cancer at Women's College Hospital, Toronto, from January 1977 through December 1986. Details of diagnostic procedures, pathology, treatment, dates and sites of recurrence, and date of death are available on 96% of women. By comparison with published series and with the Ontario Cancer Registry, we have demonstrated validity and generalizability. A major advantage is the ready availability of paraffin tissue blocks on virtually all cases, facilitating analyses of the prognostic importance of specific biologic variables and immunocytochemical hormone assays. Other completed studies and future uses of the cohort are described.
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