Keeping cancer guidelines current: results of a comprehensive prospective literature monitoring strategy

Li Liu, MD

University of Pennsylvania Cancer
Last Modified: May 12, 2001

Presenter: M.C. Brouwers/G. P.Browman
Affiliation: McMaster University, Hamilton Regional Cancer Centre, Hamilton, Canada


    A Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) is an evidence-based statement that assists patients and health care providers make appropriate decisions about cancer care. CPGs are developed and updated through the systematic review of the health care literature by Disease Site Groups (DSG), teams of health care providers, community representatives and researchers for Ontario's cancer system.

Materials and Methods:

    In this study, the researchers conducted monthly searches of the literature using the Medline, CancerLit, HealthStar, and Cochrane Library electronic databases as well as information from meeting prodeedings.


  • 80 pieces of new evidence were discovered over one year, including abstracts and published papers
  • Of them, there were 56 new randomized trials, 6 updates of randomized trials, 3 meta analyses, and 15 other studies
  • Modifications were made in 4 CPGs based upon 15 randomized trials
  • No modification was made to change the original recommendations

Authors' Conclusions

  • The updating process is necessary to maintain CPG credibility
  • Monthly updating and modification is not justified

Clinical/Scientific Implications:

  • The clinical practice guidelines are general and intended to be adapted to many different situations, taking into account the needs and resources particular to the locality, the institution, or the type of practice
  • Variations and innovations that improve the quality of patient care are to be encouraged rather than restricted

OncoLink ASCO 2001 coverage is provided by an unrestricted educational grant from Amgen

From the National Cancer Institute