Tag Archive for: systematic review

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Article of the month: Current status of artificial intelligence applications in urology and their potential to influence clinical practice

Every month, the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Month from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an editorial  and a visual abstract produced by prominent members of the urological community. These are intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation. 

If you only have time to read one article this month, it should be this one.

Current status of artificial intelligence applications in urology and their potential to influence clinical practice

Jian Chen*, Daphne Remulla*, Jessica H. Nguyen*, D. Aastha, Yan Liu, Prokar Dasgupta and Andrew J. Hung*

*Catherine & Joseph Aresty Department of Urology, Center for Robotic Simulation & Education, University of Southern California Institute of Urology, Computer Science Department, Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA, and Division of Transplantation Immunology and Mucosal Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, Kings College London, London, UK

Abstract

Objective

To investigate the applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in diagnosis, treatment and outcome prediction in urologic diseases and evaluate its advantages over traditional models and methods.

Materials and methods

A literature search was performed after PROSPERO registration (CRD42018103701) and in compliance with Preferred Reported Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta‐Analyses (PRISMA) methods. Articles between 1994 and 2018 using the search terms “urology”, “artificial intelligence”, “machine learning” were included and categorized by the application of AI in urology. Review articles, editorial comments, articles with no full‐text access, and non-urologic studies were excluded.

Results

Initial search yielded 231 articles, but after excluding duplicates and following full‐text review and examination of article references, only 111 articles were included in the final analysis. AI applications in urology include: utilizing radiomic imaging or ultrasonic echo data to improve or automate cancer detection or outcome prediction, utilizing digitized tissue specimen images to automate detection of cancer on pathology slides, and combining patient clinical data, biomarkers, or gene expression to assist disease diagnosis or outcome prediction. Some studies employed AI to plan brachytherapy and radiation treatments while others used video based or robotic automated performance metrics to objectively evaluate surgical skill. Compared to conventional statistical analysis, 71.8% of studies concluded that AI is superior in diagnosis and outcome prediction.

Conclusion

AI has been widely adopted in urology. Compared to conventional statistics AI approaches are more accurate in prediction and more explorative for analyzing large data cohorts. With an increasing library of patient data accessible to clinicians, AI may help facilitate evidence‐based and individualized patient care.

 

Article of the week: Biparametric vs multiparametric prostate MRI for the detection of PCa in treatment‐naïve patients

Every week, the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community, and a video produced by the authors. These are intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation. 

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

Biparametric vs multiparametric prostate magnetic resonance imaging for the detection of prostate cancer in treatment-naïve patients: a diagnostic test accuracy systematic review and meta-analysis

Mostafa Alabousi*, Jean-Paul Salameh†‡, Kaela Gusenbauer§, Lucy Samoilov, Ali Jafri**, Hang Yu§ and Abdullah Alabousi††

 

*Department of Radiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa, The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa, §Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Department of Medicine, Western University, London, ON, Canada, **Department of Medicine, New York Institute of Technology School of Osteopathic Medicine, Glen Head, NY, USA, and ††Department of Radiology, St Joseph’s Healthcare, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada

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Abstract

Objective

To perform a diagnostic test accuracy (DTA) systematic review and meta‐analysis comparing multiparametric (diffusion‐weighted imaging [DWI], T2‐weighted imaging [T2WI], and dynamic contrast‐enhanced [DCE] imaging) magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) and biparametric (DWI and T2WI) MRI (bpMRI) in detecting prostate cancer in treatment‐naïve patients.

Methods

The Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online (MEDLINE) and Excerpta Medica dataBASE (EMBASE) were searched to identify relevant studies published after 1 January 2012. Articles underwent title, abstract, and full‐text screening. Inclusion criteria consisted of patients with suspected prostate cancer, bpMRI and/or mpMRI as the index test(s), histopathology as the reference standard, and a DTA outcome measure. Methodological and DTA data were extracted. Risk of bias was assessed using the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (QUADAS)‐2 tool. DTA metrics were pooled using bivariate random‐effects meta‐analysis. Subgroup analysis was conducted to assess for heterogeneity.

Results

From an initial 3502 studies, 31 studies reporting on 9480 patients (4296 with prostate cancer) met the inclusion criteria for the meta‐analysis; 25 studies reported on mpMRI (7000 patients, 2954 with prostate cancer) and 12 studies reported on bpMRI DTA (2716 patients, 1477 with prostate cancer). Pooled summary statistics demonstrated no significant difference for sensitivity (mpMRI: 86%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 81–90; bpMRI: 90%, 95% CI 83–94) or specificity (mpMRI: 73%, 95% CI 64–81; bpMRI: 70%, 95% CI 42–83). The summary receiver operating characteristic curves were comparable for mpMRI (0.87) and bpMRI (0.90).

Conclusions

No significant difference in DTA was found between mpMRI and bpMRI in diagnosing prostate cancer in treatment‐naïve patients. Study heterogeneity warrants cautious interpretation of the results. With replication of our findings in dedicated validation studies, bpMRI may serve as a faster, cheaper, gadolinium‐free alternative to mpMRI.

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Article of the week: Suture techniques during laparoscopic and robot‐assisted partial nephrectomy

Every week, the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is a video produced by the authors. Please use the tools at the bottom of the post if you would like to make a comment. 

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

Suture techniques during laparoscopic and robot‐assisted partial nephrectomy: a systematic review and quantitative synthesis of peri‐operative outcomes

Riccardo Bertolo*, Riccardo Campi, Tobias Klatte, Maximilian C. Kriegmair§Maria Carmen Mir, Idir Ouzaid**, Maciej Salagierski††, Sam Bhayani‡‡, Inderbir Gill§§¶¶Jihad Kaouk* and Umberto Capitanio‡‡§§***††† On behalf of the Young Academic Urologists (YAU) Kidney Cancer working group of the European Urological Association (EAU)

 

*Department of Urology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH, USA, Department of Urology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy, Department of Urology, Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals, Bournemouth, UK, §Department of Urology, University Medical Centre Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany, Department of Urology, Fundación Instituto Valenciano de Oncología, Valencia, Spain, **Department of Urology, Bichat Hospital, APHP, Paris Diderot University, Paris, France, ††Urology Department, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Zielona ra, Zielona Góra, Poland, ‡‡Division of Urology, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO, §§Keck School of Medicine, USC Institute of Urology, ¶¶Catherine and Joseph Aresty Department of Urology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA, ***Department of Urology, San Raffaele ScientifiInstitute, and †††Division of Experimental Oncology/Unit of Urology, URI, IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital, Milan, Italy

 

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Abstract

Objective

To summarize the available evidence on renorrhaphy techniques and to assess their impact on peri‐operative outcomes after minimally invasive partial nephrectomy (MIPN).

Materials and Methods

A systematic review of the literature was performed in January 2018 without time restrictions, using MEDLINE, Cochrane and Web of Science databases according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta‐Analyses statement recommendations. Studies providing sufficient details on renorrhaphy techniques during laparoscopic or robot‐assisted partial nephrectomy and comparative studies focused on peri‐operative outcomes were included in qualitative and quantitative analyses, respectively.

Fig. 4. Integrated overview of evidence‐based technical principles for renal reconstruction during minimally invasive partial nephrectomy and suggested standardized reporting of key renorrhaphy features in clinical studies on this topic.

Results

Overall, 67 and 19 studies were included in the qualitative and quantitative analyses, respectively. The overall quality of evidence was low. Specific tumour features (i.e. size, hilar location, anatomical complexity, nearness to renal sinus and/or urinary collecting system), surgeon’s experience, robot‐assisted technology, as well as the aim of reducing warm ischaemia time and the amount of devascularized renal parenchyma preserved represented the key factors driving the evolution of the renorrhaphy techniques during MIPN over the past decade. Quantitative synthesis showed that running suture was associated with shorter operating and ischaemia time, and lower postoperative complication and transfusion rates than interrupted suture. Barbed suture had lower operating and ischaemia time and less blood loss than non‐barbed suture. The single‐layer suture technique was associated with shorter operating and ischaemia time than the double‐layer technique. No comparisons were possible concerning renal functional outcomes because of non‐homogeneous data reporting.

Conclusions

Renorrhaphy techniques significantly evolved over the years, improving outcomes. Running suture, particularly using barbed wires, shortened the operating and ischaemia times. A further advantage could derive from avoiding a double‐layer suture.

 

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Video: Suture techniques during laparoscopic and robot‐assisted partial nephrectomy

Suture techniques during laparoscopic and robot‐assisted partial nephrectomy: a systematic review and quantitative synthesis of peri‐operative outcomes

by Riccardo Bertolo (@RicBertolo)

Read the full article

Abstract

Objective

To summarize the available evidence on renorrhaphy techniques and to assess their impact on peri‐operative outcomes after minimally invasive partial nephrectomy (MIPN).

Materials and Methods

A systematic review of the literature was performed in January 2018 without time restrictions, using MEDLINE, Cochrane and Web of Science databases according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta‐Analyses statement recommendations. Studies providing sufficient details on renorrhaphy techniques during laparoscopic or robot‐assisted partial nephrectomy and comparative studies focused on peri‐operative outcomes were included in qualitative and quantitative analyses, respectively.

Results

Overall, 67 and 19 studies were included in the qualitative and quantitative analyses, respectively. The overall quality of evidence was low. Specific tumour features (i.e. size, hilar location, anatomical complexity, nearness to renal sinus and/or urinary collecting system), surgeon’s experience, robot‐assisted technology, as well as the aim of reducing warm ischaemia time and the amount of devascularized renal parenchyma preserved represented the key factors driving the evolution of the renorrhaphy techniques during MIPN over the past decade. Quantitative synthesis showed that running suture was associated with shorter operating and ischaemia time, and lower postoperative complication and transfusion rates than interrupted suture. Barbed suture had lower operating and ischaemia time and less blood loss than non‐barbed suture. The single‐layer suture technique was associated with shorter operating and ischaemia time than the double‐layer technique. No comparisons were possible concerning renal functional outcomes because of non‐homogeneous data reporting.

Conclusions

Renorrhaphy techniques significantly evolved over the years, improving outcomes. Running suture, particularly using barbed wires, shortened the operating and ischaemia times. A further advantage could derive from avoiding a double‐layer suture.

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Residents’ podcast: Vaccines for preventing recurrent UTIs


Maria Uloko is a Urology Resident at the University of Minnesota Hospital. In this podcast she discusses the following BJUI Article of the Week:

Vaccines for the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections: a systematic review

 

Read the full article

Abstract

Objectives

To systematically review the evidence regarding the efficacy of vaccines or immunostimulants in reducing the recurrence rate of urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Materials and Methods

The Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online (MEDLINE), Excerpta Medica dataBASE (EMBASE), PubMed, Cochrane Library, World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform Search Portal, and conference abstracts were searched up to January 2018 for English‐titled citations. Randomised placebo‐controlled trials evaluating UTI recurrence rates in adult patients with recurrent UTIs treated with a vaccine were selected by two independent reviewers according to the Population, Interventions, Comparators, and Outcomes (PICO) criteria. Differences in recurrence rates in study populations for individual trials were calculated and pooled, and risk ratios (RRs) using random effects models were calculated. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration’s tool and heterogeneity was assessed using chi‐squared and I2 testing. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach was used to evaluate the quality of evidence (QOE) and summarise findings.

Results

In all, 599 records were identified, of which 10 studies were included. A total of 1537 patients were recruited and analysed, on whom data were presented. Three candidate vaccines were studied: Uro‐Vaxom® (OM Pharma, Myerlin, Switzerland), Urovac® (Solco Basel Ltd, Basel, Switzerland), and ExPEC4V (GlycoVaxyn AG, Schlieren, Switzerland). At trial endpoint, the use of vaccines appeared to reduce UTI recurrence compared to placebo (RR 0.74, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.67–0.81; low QOE). Uro‐Vaxom showed the greatest reduction in UTI recurrence rate; the maximal effect was seen at 3 months compared with 6 months after initial treatment (RR 0.67, 95% CI 0.57–0.78; and RR 0.78, 95% CI 0.69–0.88, respectively; low QOE). Urovac may also reduce risk of UTI recurrence (RR 0.75, 95% CI 0.63–0.89; low QOE). ExPEC4V does not appear to reduce UTI recurrence compared to placebo at study endpoint (RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.62–1.10; low QOE). Substantial heterogeneity was observed across the included studies (chi‐squared = 54.58; P < 0.001, I2 = 84%).

Conclusions

While there is evidence for the efficacy of vaccines in patients with recurrent UTIs, significant heterogeneity amongst these studies renders interpretation and recommendation for routine clinical use difficult at present. Further randomised trials using consistent definitions and endpoints are needed to study the long‐term efficacy and safety of vaccines for infection prevention in patients with recurrent UTIs.

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Article of the week: Vaccines for the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections: a systematic review

Every week, the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community, a podcast, and the authors have also kindly produced a video describing their work. These are intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation. 

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

Vaccines for the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections: a systematic review

Nikoo Aziminia*, Marios Hadjipavlou*, Yiannis Philippou, Shivkumar S. Pandian*, Sachin Malde† and Mohamed Y. Hammadeh*

 

*Department of Urology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Urology Centre, Guys Hospital, London and Nufeld Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

 

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Abstract

Objectives

To systematically review the evidence regarding the efficacy of vaccines or immunostimulants in reducing the recurrence rate of urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Materials and Methods

The Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online (MEDLINE), Excerpta Medica dataBASE (EMBASE), PubMed, Cochrane Library, World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform Search Portal, and conference abstracts were searched up to January 2018 for English‐titled citations. Randomised placebo‐controlled trials evaluating UTI recurrence rates in adult patients with recurrent UTIs treated with a vaccine were selected by two independent reviewers according to the Population, Interventions, Comparators, and Outcomes (PICO) criteria. Differences in recurrence rates in study populations for individual trials were calculated and pooled, and risk ratios (RRs) using random effects models were calculated. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration’s tool and heterogeneity was assessed using chi‐squared and I2 testing. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach was used to evaluate the quality of evidence (QOE) and summarise findings.

 

Results

In all, 599 records were identified, of which 10 studies were included. A total of 1537 patients were recruited and analysed, on whom data were presented. Three candidate vaccines were studied: Uro‐Vaxom® (OM Pharma, Myerlin, Switzerland), Urovac® (Solco Basel Ltd, Basel, Switzerland), and ExPEC4V (GlycoVaxyn AG, Schlieren, Switzerland). At trial endpoint, the use of vaccines appeared to reduce UTI recurrence compared to placebo (RR 0.74, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.67–0.81; low QOE). Uro‐Vaxom showed the greatest reduction in UTI recurrence rate; the maximal effect was seen at 3 months compared with 6 months after initial treatment (RR 0.67, 95% CI 0.57–0.78; and RR 0.78, 95% CI 0.69–0.88, respectively; low QOE). Urovac may also reduce risk of UTI recurrence (RR 0.75, 95% CI 0.63–0.89; low QOE). ExPEC4V does not appear to reduce UTI recurrence compared to placebo at study endpoint (RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.62–1.10; low QOE). Substantial heterogeneity was observed across the included studies (chi‐squared = 54.58; P < 0.001, I2 = 84%).

Conclusions

While there is evidence for the efficacy of vaccines in patients with recurrent UTIs, significant heterogeneity amongst these studies renders interpretation and recommendation for routine clinical use difficult at present. Further randomised trials using consistent definitions and endpoints are needed to study the long‐term efficacy and safety of vaccines for infection prevention in patients with recurrent UTIs.

 

Read more Articles of the week

Video: Vaccines for the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections: a systematic review

Vaccines for the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections: a systematic review

Read the full article

Abstract

Objectives

To systematically review the evidence regarding the efficacy of vaccines or immunostimulants in reducing the recurrence rate of urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Materials and Methods

The Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online (MEDLINE), Excerpta Medica dataBASE (EMBASE), PubMed, Cochrane Library, World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform Search Portal, and conference abstracts were searched up to January 2018 for English‐titled citations. Randomised placebo‐controlled trials evaluating UTI recurrence rates in adult patients with recurrent UTIs treated with a vaccine were selected by two independent reviewers according to the Population, Interventions, Comparators, and Outcomes (PICO) criteria. Differences in recurrence rates in study populations for individual trials were calculated and pooled, and risk ratios (RRs) using random effects models were calculated. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration’s tool and heterogeneity was assessed using chi‐squared and I2 testing. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach was used to evaluate the quality of evidence (QOE) and summarise findings.

Results

In all, 599 records were identified, of which 10 studies were included. A total of 1537 patients were recruited and analysed, on whom data were presented. Three candidate vaccines were studied: Uro‐Vaxom® (OM Pharma, Myerlin, Switzerland), Urovac® (Solco Basel Ltd, Basel, Switzerland), and ExPEC4V (GlycoVaxyn AG, Schlieren, Switzerland). At trial endpoint, the use of vaccines appeared to reduce UTI recurrence compared to placebo (RR 0.74, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.67–0.81; low QOE). Uro‐Vaxom showed the greatest reduction in UTI recurrence rate; the maximal effect was seen at 3 months compared with 6 months after initial treatment (RR 0.67, 95% CI 0.57–0.78; and RR 0.78, 95% CI 0.69–0.88, respectively; low QOE). Urovac may also reduce risk of UTI recurrence (RR 0.75, 95% CI 0.63–0.89; low QOE). ExPEC4V does not appear to reduce UTI recurrence compared to placebo at study endpoint (RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.62–1.10; low QOE). Substantial heterogeneity was observed across the included studies (chi‐squared = 54.58; P < 0.001, I2 = 84%).

Conclusions

While there is evidence for the efficacy of vaccines in patients with recurrent UTIs, significant heterogeneity amongst these studies renders interpretation and recommendation for routine clinical use difficult at present. Further randomised trials using consistent definitions and endpoints are needed to study the long‐term efficacy and safety of vaccines for infection prevention in patients with recurrent UTIs.

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Video: Prostatic capsular incision during RP has important oncological implications. A systematic review and meta‐analysis

Prostatic capsular incision during radical prostatectomy has important oncological implications. A systematic review and meta‐analysis

Abstract

Introduction

Capsular Incision (CapI) is an iatrogenic breach of the prostatic capsule during radical prostatectomy that can cause positive surgical margins (PSM) in organ‐confined (pT2) prostate cancer (PCa), or the retention of benign prostatic tissue. We systematically interrogated the literature in order to clarify the definition of CapI, and the implications of this event for rates of PSM and biochemical recurrence (BCR).

Methods

A literature search was conducted according to PRISMA criteria using the search terms ‘CapI’ AND ‘prostatectomy’ and variations of each. 18 studies were eligible for inclusion.

Results

A total of 51,057 radical prostatectomy specimens were included. The incidence of CapI ranged from 1.3‐54.3%. CapI definitions varied, and included a breach of the prostatic capsule “exposing both benign or malignant PCa cells”, “malignant tissue only”, or “benign tissue only”. The incidence of PSM due to CapI ranged from 2.8 – 71.7%. Our meta‐analysis results found that when CapI was defined as “exposing malignant tissue only in organ‐confined prostate cancer” there was an increased risk of BCR compared to patients with pT2 disease and no CapI (RR 3.53, 95%CI 2.82‐4.41; p < 0.00001).

Conclusions

The absolute impact of CapI on oncological outcomes is currently unclear due to inconsistent definitions. However, the data implies an association between CapI and PSM and BCR. Reporting of possible areas of CapI on the operation note, or marking areas of concern on the specimen, are critical to assist CapI recognition by the pathologist.

 

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Reaching for the stars – rating the quality of systematic reviews with the Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR) 2

The number of published systematic reviews and meta‐analyses in the urological literature has dramatically increased in recent years [1]. This is good news given their importance in guiding clinical decision‐making, guideline development and health policy. However, many of these studies are of low quality, raising concerns about the trustworthiness of their results. As with other research studies, it is therefore important for readers to have a framework for determining the quality of a given systematic review. Therefore, in 2017 BJU International launched a scoring system for systematic reviews that provides readers with a summary assessment as to whether established methodological safeguards against bias for systematic reviews have been met [2]. This is based on the Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR), a validated instrument that assesses methodological quality on an 11‐point scale (0–11), with higher scores reflecting greater methodological rigor and all criteria being given the same relative weight [3].

Recently, an updated version of this instrument has become available, offering a better assessment of systematic reviews [4]. The revised instrument (AMSTAR 2) includes 10 of the original domains; it has 16 items in total (compared with 11 in the original), simpler response categories to the original AMSTAR, and provides an overall rating that is largely based on seven critical domains that should all be met. These relate to: (i) documentation of an a priori registered protocol in Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO) or through Cochrane, (ii) a comprehensive literature search, (iii) explicit justification for excluding studies, (iv) a risk of bias assessment of included studies, (v) appropriate use of meta‐analytical methods, (vi) consideration of risk of bias when interpreting the results of the review, and (vii) assessment of presence and likely impact of publication bias. Other, non‐critical domains include a clear description of the study question in Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome (PICO) format, study selection and data extraction in duplicate, and identification of sources of funding of the studies included in the review and the review itself. This results in a four‐tiered rating (high, moderate, low, and critically low) that reflects the confidence that a reader may place in the results. Notably, a high‐quality rating requires no critical weakness and allows for only one non‐critical weakness. More than one non‐critical weakness drops the rating down to moderate, and just one critical weakness (such as lack of an a priori protocol) drops the rating down to low. Any review that has more than one critical weakness will be rated as critically low.

BJU International editors will routinely apply this AMSTAR 2‐based scoring system to screen for methodological quality in order to raise the awareness of this issue and promote reviews of higher quality (Fig. 1)[1]. Needless to say, BJU International is not the place for systematic reviews of sub‐optimal methodological quality in which the readers cannot place their trust. Meanwhile, we also fully understand that methodological rigor is not everything but has to be paired with clinical relevance and newsworthiness. Much has been written about the dramatic redundancy of systematic reviews on the same topic; in certain areas of medicine, the number of systematic reviews exceeds that of eligible studies that these reviews included [5]. Therefore, when systematic reviews already exist, there needs to be a clear rationale for any ‘encore’ performance. BJU International also encourages the development of systematic reviews by author teams that are financially unconflicted and have thoughtfully managed any intellectual conflict of interest.

Figure 1: New BJUI rating system of systematic reviews based on AMSTAR 2. The number of coloured stars in the inner and outer layers of the system represents completeness of an individual critical domain and overall confidence rating of the systematic review, respectively. The number in the middle of the system refers to the summary AMSTAR 2 score based on the overall confidence rating of the systematic review (high: 4, moderate: 3, low: 2, critically low: 1).

Through this initiative, BJU International not only intends to become the premier journal for high‐quality systematic reviews as they relate to urology, but also to move the field forward, reducing redundancy and waste. As we embrace the higher standards of AMSTAR 2, we present the first review to be scored using this method in this issue [6] and we encourage all systematic review authors to accept this challenge and reach with us for the stars.

References

  1. Han JL, Gandhi S, Bockoven CG, Narayan VM, Dahm P. The landscape of systematic reviews in urology (1998 to 2015): an assessment of methodological quality. BJU Int 2017; 119: 638–49
  2. Dahm P. Raising the bar for systematic reviews with Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR). BJU Int 2017; 119: 193
  3. Shea BJ, Grimshaw JM, Wells GA et al. Development of AMSTAR: a measurement tool to assess the methodological quality of systematic reviews. BMC Med Res Methodol 2007; 7: 10

 

About the authors:

Dr Philipp Dahm is Professor of Urology and Vice Chair of Veterans Affairs at the University of Minnesota. He also serves as Director of Research and Education for Surgical Services at the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Medical Center (@EBMUrology).

 

Dr Jae Hung Jung is from the Department of Urology, Wonju College of Medicine, Yonsei University, Korea.

 

 

 

Article of the Week: Comparing LRP and RARP to ORP to treat PCa

Every Week, the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an accompanying editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community. This blog is intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation.

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

Laparoscopic and robot‐assisted vs open radical prostatectomy for the treatment of localized prostate cancer: a Cochrane systematic review

 

Dragan Ilic*, Sue M. Evans, Christie Ann Allan*, Jae Hung Jung§¶, Declan Murphy** and Mark Frydenberg††

 

*Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Centre of Research Excellence in Patient Safety, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Vic., Australia, Department of Urology, Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine, Wonju, Korea, §Department of Urology, University of Minnesota, Urology Section, Minneapolis VA Health Care System, Minneapolis, MN, USA, **Cancer Surgery, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and ††Department of Surgery, Monash University, Melbourne, Vic., Australia

 

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Abstract

Objective

To determine the effects of laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (LRP), or robot‐assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) compared with open radical prostatectomy (ORP) in men with localized prostate cancer.

Materials and Methods

We performed a comprehensive search using multiple databases (CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE) and abstract proceedings, with no restrictions on the language of publication or publication status, up until 9 June 2017. We included all randomized or pseudo‐randomized controlled trials that directly compared LRP and RARP with ORP. Two review authors independently examined full‐text reports, identified relevant studies, assessed the eligibility of studies for inclusion, extracted data and assessed risk of bias. We performed statistical analyses using a random‐effects model and assessed the quality of the evidence according to Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE). The primary outcomes were prostate cancer‐specific survival, urinary quality of life and sexual quality of life. Secondary outcomes were biochemical recurrence‐free survival, overall survival, overall surgical complications, serious postoperative surgical complications, postoperative pain, hospital stay and blood transfusions.

Results

We included two unique studies in a total of 446 randomized participants with clinically localized prostate cancer. All available outcome data were short‐term (up to 3 months). We found no study that addressed the outcome of prostate cancer‐specific survival. Based on one trial, RARP probably results in little to no difference in urinary quality of life (mean difference [MD] −1.30, 95% confidence interval [CI] −4.65 to 2.05; moderate quality of evidence) and sexual quality of life (MD 3.90, 95% CI: −1.84 to 9.64; moderate quality of evidence). No study addressed the outcomes of biochemical recurrence‐free survival or overall survival. Based on one trial, RARP may result in little to no difference in overall surgical complications (risk ratio [RR] 0.41, 95% CI: 0.16−1.04; low quality of evidence) or serious postoperative complications (RR 0.16, 95% CI: 0.02–1.32; low quality of evidence). Based on two studies, LRP or RARP may result in a small, possibly unimportant improvement in postoperative pain at 1 day (MD −1.05, 95% CI: −1.42 to −0.68; low quality of evidence) and up to 1 week (MD −0.78, 95% CI: −1.40 to −0.17; low quality of evidence). Based on one study, RARP probably results in little to no difference in postoperative pain at 12 weeks (MD 0.01, 95% CI: −0.32 to 0.34; moderate quality of evidence). Based on one study, RARP probably reduces the length of hospital stay (MD −1.72, 95% CI: −2.19 to −1.25; moderate quality of evidence). Based on two studies, LRP or RARP may reduce the frequency of blood transfusions (RR 0.24, 95% CI: 0.12–0.46; low quality of evidence). Assuming a baseline risk for a blood transfusion to be 8.9%, LRP or RARP would result in 68 fewer blood transfusions per 1,000 men (95% CI: 78–48 fewer).

Conclusions

There is no evidence to inform the comparative effectiveness of LRP or RARP compared with ORP for oncological outcomes. Urinary and sexual quality of life appear similar. Overall and serious postoperative complication rates appear similar. The difference in postoperative pain may be minimal. Men undergoing LRP or RARP may have a shorter hospital stay and receive fewer blood transfusions.

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