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Table 1 Estimated prevalence of incidental breast cancer and precursor lesions by year of autopsies done and thoroughness of examination in the 13 included studies

From: Prevalence of incidental breast cancer and precursor lesions in autopsy studies: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Author Median year autopsies done Country/Ethnicity Number of women Age (range, years) Study Population Peer Review Used international pathology reporting method Detected breast cancer possibly caused woman’s death? Mean number of sections submitted for pathology Invasive Cancera In-situ cancer (DCISb/LCIS)c Atypical Hyperplasia (ADHd/ALH)e All categories of Cancer or Precursor lesiona
Forensic vs Hospital Consecutive
Kiaer 1948 Denmark 351 51 Forensic No No No No Not available 0·3% 0·0% 0·0% 0·3%
(16–89)
Ryan 1962 Canada 100 56 Hospital No Yes No Not available 7 0·0% 0·0% 3·0% 3·0%
Sarnelli 1962 Italy 100 62 Hospital No No Yes No Not available 0·0% 0·0% 0·0% 0·0%
(46–90)
Kramer 1973 USA 70 79 Hospital No No No Not available 100 1·4% 4·3% 10·0% 15·7%
(70 –?)
Nielsen 1984 1977 Denmark 75 67 Hospital Yes No Yes: WHO (1981), Azzopardi No 189 1·3% 18·7% 4·0% 26·6%
(22–89)
Bartow 1981 USA 519 43 Forensic Yes No No No 18 1·0% 0·4% 1·0% 2·3%
(15–88)
Nielsen 1987 1984 Denmark 109 39 Forensic Yes No Yes: WHO (1981), Azzopardi No 549 0·9% 18·3% 7·3% 26·6%
(20–54)
Alpers 1985 USA 101 51 Hospital No No No No 253 0·0% 8·9% 10·9% 19·8%
(15–99)
Pisano 1985 Chile 152 44 Forensic No Yes Yes No 3 0·7% 0·0% 0·0% 0·7%
Bhathal 1985 Australia 207 60 Forensic Yes No Yes: Black & de Chabon No 23 1·4% 13·0% 12·6% 27·1%
(15–97)
Giarelli 1985 Italy 463 77 Hospital Yes No No No Not available 1·5% 0·0% 0·0% 1·5%
(35 –?)
Inai 1985 Japan 62 55 Hospital No No Yes: Azzopardi No 36 1·6% 0·0% 14·5% 16·1%
(11–85)
Starlsberg (Ghana)f 2010    39 Hospital No Yes No Yes 8 7·1% 0·0% 0·0% 7·1%
Ghana 28 (15–60)
Starlsberg (Norway)f 2010    42 Hospital No Yes No Yes 8 3·8% 0·0% 3·8% 7·7%
Norway 26 (15–60)
  1. aPrevalences may differ to those reported in primary studies due to exclusion of cases which may have been diagnosed during life
  2. b DCIS Ductal carcinoma in-situ
  3. c LCIS Lobular Carcinoma in-situ
  4. d ADH Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia
  5. e ALH Atypical Lobular Hyperplasia
  6. fIn Stalsberg study, two women with invasive breast cancer first diagnosed at autopsy died of cardiac tamponade/massive pleural effusion and metastatic signet cell carcinoma (the women were from Ghana and Norway respectively)