Insufficient uptake of systematic search methods in oncological clinical practice guideline: a systematic review.

Trevisiol, Chiara; Cinquini, Michela; Fabricio, Aline S C; Gion, Massimo; Rutjes, Anne W S (2019). Insufficient uptake of systematic search methods in oncological clinical practice guideline: a systematic review. BMC Medical research methodology, 19(1), p. 180. BioMed Central 10.1186/s12874-019-0818-5

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BACKGROUND The use of systematic review methods are widely recognized to be essential in the development of recommendations in clinical practice guidelines to prove their trustworthiness. The objective of this study was to assess the use of systematic search methods by authors of guidelines published in the oncology field. METHODS We analyzed 590 guidance documents identified in PubMed, NGC, GIN and web sites for guidelines in 2009-2015 in oncology. The main outcome measure used was incidence of guidance documents supported by a systematic search of the literature. In addition to descriptive analyses, logistic regression was used to evaluate if adequate search methods were explained by guideline characteristics. RESULTS Of 590 guidance documents included in the study, 305 (51.7%) declared the use of systematic search methods but only 168 (28.5%) applied methods meeting minimum standards for quality and provided sufficient details to allow classification. 164 (27.8%) guidance documents did not report any use of literature evaluation. Guidance documents produced by a Government Agency in North America (OR 2.16, 95% CI 1.16-4.17) and those with a focused scope (OR 2.35, 95% CI 0.97-5.56) were positively associated with the use of systematic search methods. We found no association between the year of publication and use of systematic search methods. CONCLUSIONS A relatively small number of guidance documents was informed by scientific evidence identified through adequate systematic search methods. We observed substantial room for improvement of applied methods and reporting, especially in documents with a broad focus, or those produced by professional societies or independent expert panels in other continents than North America.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute of General Practice and Primary Care (BIHAM)

UniBE Contributor:

Rutjes, Anne


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services




BioMed Central




Andrea Flükiger-Flückiger

Date Deposited:

27 Aug 2019 12:34

Last Modified:

10 Jan 2020 12:15

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Guideline Oncology Reporting quality Reproducibility of result Systematic review




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