Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Accurate cause of death assignment is crucial for prostate cancer epidemiology and trials reporting prostate cancer-specific mortality outcomes. METHODS: We compared death certificate information with independent cause of death evaluation by an expert committee within a prostate cancer trial (2002-2015). RESULTS: Of 1236 deaths assessed, expert committee evaluation attributed 523 (42%) to prostate cancer, agreeing with death certificate cause of death in 1134 cases (92%, 95% CI: 90%, 93%). The sensitivity of death certificates in identifying prostate cancer deaths as classified by the committee was 91% (95% CI: 89%, 94%); specificity was 92% (95% CI: 90%, 94%). Sensitivity and specificity were lower where death occurred within 1 year of diagnosis, and where there was another primary cancer diagnosis. CONCLUSIONS: UK death certificates accurately identify cause of death in men with prostate cancer, supporting their use in routine statistics. Possible differential misattribution by trial arm supports independent evaluation in randomised trials.

Original publication




Journal article


Br j cancer

Publication Date





90 - 94


Aged, Cause of Death, Death Certificates, Humans, Male, Prostate, Prostatic Neoplasms, Sensitivity and Specificity