Publication bias can arise in systematic reviews when unpublished data are omitted and lead to inaccurate clinical decision making and adverse clinical outcomes. By conducting searches of clinical trial registries (CTRs), researchers can create more accurate systematic reviews and mitigate the risk of publication bias. The aims of this study are: to evaluate CTR use in systematic reviews and meta-analyses within the minimally invasive surgical oncology (MISO) literature; to conduct a search of ClinicalTrials.gov for a subset of reviews to determine if eligible trials exist that could have been used. This is a cross-sectional study of 197 systematic reviews and meta-analyses retrieved from PubMed. Of 137 included studies, 18 (13.1%) reported searching a CTR. Our ClinicalTrials.gov search revealed that of the 25 randomly selected systematic reviews that failed to conduct a trial registry search, 16 (64.0%) would have identified additional data sources. MISO systematic reviews and meta-analyses do not regularly use CTRs in their data collection, despite eligible trials being freely available.
- Clinical Trial Registry
- Minimally Invasive Surgical Oncology
- Publication Bias
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Contributors The authors of this study have no contributors to report who helped with the data extraction, statistical analysis or authorship of this manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request.
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