Trainees: get involved in a major systematic review

RSTN TeamUncategorized

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The RSTN has been approached by Prof. Hywel Williams to identify plastic surgery trainees interested in joining a large NIHR funded systematic review of skin cancer related topics.

This is a fantastic opportunity to get trained in systematic reviewing and be part of a project that will have a significant impact on patient care.

If you are interested, please respond directly to him following the instructions below.

Dear Colleague,

Re: NIHR Programme Grant on diagnostic test accuracy reviews on melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer

The invitation:
I am writing to you about an opportunity for you to become a co-author in a review, or cluster of reviews, relating to the topic of diagnosis and staging of skin cancer. The suite of reviews is being led by Professor Jon Deeks and his team at the University of Birmingham (who have national expertise on diagnostic test accuracy studies) and is being supported by the Cochrane Skin Group and a wider multidisciplinary advisory panel.

The tasks:
We are looking for around 10 good committed clinical reviewers who undertake the following tasks, supported by the core team:

  • Piloting of eligibility criteria, validity assessment and data extraction
  • Inclusion assessment (from full-text articles)
  • Validity assessment (based on QUADAS-2)
  • Data extraction (core team will also do second extraction)
  • Preparation of review report with main team

I have already identified some committed dermatology trainees, and it would be nice to include some plastic surgery reviewers as well, especially in the areas where plastic surgeons are most engaged eg cancer staging.

Timing and clustering of work:
Initially, this will involve working on one of four generic protocols that cover (i) diagnosis of melanoma, (ii) diagnosis of BCC/SCC, (iii) staging of melanoma and (iv) staging of SCC. These generic protocols will be done by December 2014. The main diagnostic systematic reviews (melanoma and NMSC) will be carried out in 2015 and the two staging reviews in 2016. The list of likely specific reviews is at the bottom of this page. Some reviews are clearly clustered, and it would be perfectly acceptable to work on more than one similar review (but no more than four max), which would also add some consistency across reviews. Senior colleagues with content expertise will also be involved in each review, along with the core team of methodologists.

Qualities we are looking for:
Experience in conducting a previous systematic review would be an advantage, but the most important quality we are looking for is enthusiasm, a willingness to learn and work hard. The work will require at least half a day a week from September 2014 to 2016, and is the ideal sort of work that can be slotted into a Specialist Registrar research session for example. Dedicated training in DTA reviews will also be provided. At the end of the process, you would have learned a lot about evidence-based medicine, critical appraisal, diagnostic test accuracy studies plus you will be a co-author on one or more high profile reviews published in prominent journals.

What to do if interested:
If you are interested, please send me a short CV, and a cover letter or email to say why you are interested. If you are a clinical trainee, you will also need to provide us with a letter of support from your educational training supervisor to indicate that you have discussed the work commitment and how it might fit into your training. Please also indicate which generic protocol you might be most interested in (diagnosis of melanoma, diagnosis of BCC/SCC, staging of melanoma and staging of SCC). It would also be useful if you could indicate which review or group of reviews you are most interested in contributing to from the list below. We cannot guarantee that you will be allocated these reviews if successful in applying to us, so please list your top 5 choices and we will see what we can do. Given that the diagnosis reviews will be done in 2015 and staging in 2016, it is still possible for you to be involved in a diagnosis and staging review if that really interests you.

Please reply by September the 9th.

With all good wishes,

Hywel C. Williams DSc, FMedSci
Professor of Dermato-Epidemiology,
Co-ordinating editor of the Cochrane Skin Group and Director of the Centre of Evidence-Based Dermatology,
University of Nottingham,
C Floor, South Block, Queen’s Medical Centre,
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust,
Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK

Tel: +44 115 82 31048
Fax: +44 115 82 31046



LIST OF REVIEWSBallpark number of studies (estimated from previous systematic reviews)
  1. Diagnosis of melanoma
1. Visual inspection: ABCD(E) ± ugly duckling20
2. Dermoscopy: comparison of algorithms (3-point rule, pattern analysis, ABCD criteria, Menzies criteria, ‘7-point checklist’, etc)30
3. Digital dermoscopy/artificial intelligence, including MoleMax, SIAscope, SolarScan, MelaFind15-20
4. Confocal microscopy?
5. High frequency ultrasound?
6. Canine odour detection?
7. Mole mapping or total body mapping vs focused examination?
8. Overview: Visual inspection vs dermoscopy vs Digital dermoscopy/AI vs emerging technologies
  1. Diagnosis of keratinocyte skin cancer (BCC and SCC only)
9. Visual inspection15-20
10. Dermoscopy10-15
11. Confocal microscopy10-15
12. High frequency ultrasound10
13. Exfoliative cytology10-15 (BCC only)
14. Overview: Visual inspection vs other
  1. Staging of melanoma
15. Ultrasound30-40
16. CT5-10
17. PET15-20
18. PET-CT5-10
19. MRI?
20. Sentinel lymph node biopsy +/- high frequency ultrasound?
21. Overview: Comparison of all tests according to risk
  1. Staging of squamous cell carcinoma
22. as above for melanoma?? Small study numbers anticipated?
  1. Intervention reviews
23. Effectiveness of training in dermoscopy use on diagnosis of skin cancer?