Identification of topics for comparative effectiveness systematic reviews in the field of cancer imaging

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Aim: With rapid innovations in diagnostic and therapeutic interventions in cancer care, comparative effectiveness reviews (CERs) are essential to inform clinical practice and guide future research. However, the optimal means to identify priority CER topics are uninvestigated. We aimed to devise a transparent and reproducible process to identify ten to 12 CER topics in the area of cancer imaging relevant to a wide range of stakeholders. Materials & methods: Environmental scans and explicit prioritization criteria supported interactions (email communications, web-based discussions and live teleconferences) with experts and stakeholders culminating in a three-phase deductive exercise for prioritization of CER topics. Results: We prioritized 12 CER topics in breast, lung and gastrointestinal cancers that addressed screening, diagnosis, staging, monitoring and evaluating response to treatment. Conclusion: Our project developed and implemented a transparent and reproducible process for research prioritization and topic nomination that can be further refined to improve the relevance of future CERs.

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