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Informing change: Cochrane reviews helping to guide cancer prevention research priorities

Date and Location




Sunday 22 September 2013 - 15:30 - 17:00


Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author

Louise Zitzelsberger

Contact person

Louise Zitzelsberger
Abstract text
Background: The Canadian Cancer Research Alliance engaged the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and the Canadian Cancer Society to implement an action item on cancer prevention research arising from the Pan Canadian Cancer Research Strategy– to develop a framework for collaborative action and investment. Informing the development were a research funding analysis and literature reviews complimented with stakeholder consultations and report review. A resulting set of recommendations identifying priority areas were proposed to guide next steps. Objectives: As part of a focused literature review, Cochrane systematic reviews were analyzed to identify any common questions that could inform research. Methods: Search terms were based on a set of predefined risk categories and included: activity level, body composition and metabolism; alcohol; air, water, soil contaminants; diet and nutrition; ethnicity, sex and social environment; gene environment interaction; genetic susceptibilities, hormones, infectious agents; occupational exposure; precursor lesions; tobacco and treatments/diagnostic. 75 reviews from 2006-2011 were evaluated; the recommendations in the Implications for Research sections were analyzed to pull out common themes. Results:Research implications were grouped into methodological, population, economic, intervention, observational and etiological categories. However, there was great variability in terms of specificity and number of research recommendations between reviews making them difficult to synthesize. The largest number of recommendations fell into the methodological category. Conclusions: Individual Cochrane reviews include a section on implications for research. When these sections are analyzed collectively, there is the potential not only to inform further individual studies, but research directions at a higher level. However, improved consistency in questions included in this section and how they are framed would facilitate the use of this valuable information by funding agencies. A recommendation of the report was for research funders to commission systematic reviews prior to launching RFPs to ensure that future investment in prevention research informs effective change.