MSKTC collaborates with Model System programs to conduct systematic reviews on high priority health topics to inform clinical practice.

Why conduct systematic reviews?

Practitioners, patients and policy makers all need to keep abreast of the latest medical research, but keeping current with the steady flow of research findings published in hundreds of professional journals every week is extremely difficult, especially when study results conflict, or when study methods are not comparable.

What is a systematic review?

A systematic review is a formal, organized method for compiling, evaluating and summarizing all of the published research evidence related to a specific medical or health topic. Results of a systematic review provide the best information for making decisions about treatment, practice or behavior.

MSKTC Systematic Review Strategy

The systematic reviews are joint products of the model systems (MS) and MSKTC. After the proposed systematic review topic is approved by the MS project directors, the MS knowledge translation committee identifies a lead reviewer(s) and establishes a review team. Members of the review team can be both model system and non-model system researchers. However, the review team must have MS representation.

The lead reviewer provides oversight on all aspects of the review, which may include:

a. Protocol development, screening, data extraction, data analysis, manuscript development, revision and submission

b. Making review assignments

c. Monitoring review progress d. Leading discussions during reviewer meetings.

The reviewers contribute to the systematic review development process described below and participate in conference calls regarding the review.

The following are steps in the systematic review process:

1. The MSKTC conducts literature searches using the search terms and databases suggested by the review team and sends the results to the lead reviewer and the review team.

2. The MSKTC develops a database for abstract screening based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria developed by the review team.

3. The MSKTC sets up a SharePoint site as a central repository of review materials.

4. The review team conducts abstract screening.

5. The MSKTC gathers full text for studies that met inclusion criteria.

6. The review team determines the review method and grading system, and identifies variables to be extracted from the original studies.

7. The MSKTC develops a draft database for data extraction, and works with the review team to test and finalize the database.

8. The review team extracts data from the eligible studies by reviewing the full text articles and enters the data into the database.

9. The MSKTC grades the eligible studies using the data extracted and entered into the database by the review team.

10. The MSKTC conducts a parallel review using the Knowledge Diffusion Utilization framework and will analyze and summarize the results in collaboration with the review team. Specifically, the MSKTC will subject the articles the review team selected for the SR to a review using the KDU criteria. If the group agrees, the MSKTC will include articles not "acceptable" for the SR by criteria of rigor/design, but on topic and conduct the SR and KDU to see if the MSKTC is able to extract useful data.

11. The review team develops the evidence table and drafts the manuscript.

12. The MSKTC writes the literature search methods section of the manuscript including an appendix with search terms used for each database.