The EQUATOR Network has partnered with Cancer Research UK to create the EQUATOR Oncology Project, dedicated to providing cancer researchers with the resources they need to report their work clearly, transparently and reproducibly. This week sees the launch of the Project’s quarterly email bulletin, which will keep cancer researchers and clinicians up-to-date on reporting and methodology developments.
With 1 in 2 people born after 1960 being diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime, and 8.2 million people dying of cancer worldwide every year, good research into the prevention of and treatments for cancer is of paramount importance.
The EQUATOR Network, hosted by NDORMS within the Centre for Statistics in Medicine (CSM), was set up to arm researchers with the tools they need to maximise their research efforts and truly make a difference. The Network maintains a database of reporting guidelines set up by teams of academics for different study types and areas. It also provides other resources to support better reporting, such as training and checklists.
With the support of Cancer Research UK, the EQUATOR Network is for the first time focusing on a specific disease area, cancer research reporting. The EQUATOR Oncology Project explores how cancer research reporting can be improved, aiming to make all results count and change lives. It will identify problem areas in the reporting and design of oncology research and develop resources for researchers to assist them at the reporting stage, adding value and strength to their cancer research. The Project is first concentrating on reporting and methods in clinical trials, and will later address identified issues in observational studies.
To commemorate World Cancer Day on 4 February, the EQUATOR Oncology Project launched its quarterly oncology current awareness bulletin this week. The Bulletin will keep clinicians and researchers up-to-date with issues in cancer reporting and methodology.
The Project has also identified 28 oncology-related guidelines, on cancers as varied as breast cancer, neuro-oncology, leukaemia and colon cancer, to name a few. There is also a more general reporting guideline for tumour marker prognostic studies, the REMARK guideline. These reporting guidelines are available in the EQUATOR Network database and should be used where appropriate alongside generic reporting guidelines, such as CONSORT for reporting randomised trials.
Iveta Simera, Deputy Director of the EQUATOR UK Centre, summarises why the Oncology Project is needed: “Cancer patients volunteer for clinical studies despite being seriously ill because they want to help future patients. Unless the findings from such studies are reported completely, accurately and in a timely manner, this altruistic goal is severely compromised. Following reporting guidelines is a simple way to ensure all of the important details about research are shared and made available.”
This news item is part of a series on the cancer research conducted and supported by the Centre for Statistics in Medicine, in commemoration of World Cancer Day on 4 February 2016. Read the introduction to the series here, about two trials on Barrett's Oesophagus here, about a little-used trial design that will improve the efficiency of phase I trials here, and about a new trial on pancreatic cancer here.