Systematic reviews and cancer research: a suggested stepwise approach
© The Author(s). 2018
Published: 2 March 2018
Systematic reviews, with or without meta-analysis, play an important role today in synthesizing cancer research and are frequently used to guide decision-making. However, there is now an increase in the number of systematic reviews on the same topic, thereby necessitating a systematic review of previous systematic reviews. With a focus on cancer, the purpose of this article is to provide a practical, stepwise approach for systematically reviewing the literature and publishing the results. This starts with the registration of a protocol for a systematic review of previous systematic reviews and ends with the publication of an original or updated systematic review, with or without meta-analysis, in a peer-reviewed journal. Future directions as well as potential limitations of the approach are also discussed. It is hoped that the stepwise approach presented in this article will be helpful to both producers and consumers of cancer-related systematic reviews and will contribute to the ultimate goal of preventing and treating cancer.