|Researchers recommend acceleration of cancer comparative effectiveness research|
|May 24, 2012|
Research that compares the effectiveness of different cancer treatments should be accelerated - and the findings promoted and accepted - according to a recent study led by scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For the review article "Data for Cancer Comparative Effectiveness Research," published April 20 in the online issue of the journal Cancer, the authors reviewed the literature and conducted interviews with 41 cancer comparative effectiveness research (CER) researchers.
Authors from UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health were William Carpenter, PhD, assistant professor of health
Comparative effectiveness research (CER) can address knowledge gaps, reduce uncertainties and guide health care choices, said the authors, but the lack of global standardization inhibits data pooling, comparability among multiple sources, and the ability to generalize findings in the context of the population's diversity.
"One recommendation we have for the CER community is to develop uniform definitions and consistent ways of collecting and coding data so that they can be more useful in research," said Anne-Marie Meyer, PhD, the study's lead author and an epidemiologist research associate at UNC's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
"We need to develop a forum and a process for overcoming issues of data ownership, access and governance," Carpenter added. "The process of gaining access to [data] is bureaucratically cumbersome and time-consuming. As a result, the majority of time in a research project is spent gaining access to data rather than examining them and answering important questions that can improve patient care quality and cancer outcomes."
In addition to recommendations for consistent standards and data access, other strategies suggested by the authors include multidisciplinary collaboration and more rigorous study design and sampling methods.
"It is important to recognize that new methods can extend the utility of existing data, but they cannot always correct for problems in the way data were collected," Meyer said. "Only through improvements in study design and dataset development can some of these barriers be overcome."
Amy Abernethy, MD, associate professor of medical oncology at Duke University and director of the Duke Cancer Care Research Program, also contributed to the study.
Carpenter, Kosorok and Stürmer are all members of UNC's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
|Last updated May 24, 2012|