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Sao Paulo Medical Journal

Print version ISSN 1516-3180On-line version ISSN 1806-9460


MORAES, Fabio Ynoe et al. Hierarchy of evidence referring to the central nervous system in a high-impact radiation oncology journal: a 10-year assessment. Descriptive critical appraisal study. Sao Paulo Med. J. [online]. 2015, vol.133, n.4, pp.307-313.  Epub July 03, 2015. ISSN 1806-9460.


To the best of our knowledge, there has been no systematic assessment of the classification of scientific production within the scope of radiation oncology relating to central nervous system tumors. The aim of this study was to systematically assess the status of evidence relating to the central nervous system and to evaluate the geographic origins and major content of these published data.


Descriptive critical appraisal study conducted at a private hospital in São Paulo, Brazil.


We evaluated all of the central nervous system studies published in the journal Radiotherapy & Oncology between 2003 and 2012. The studies identified were classified according to their methodological design and level of evidence. Information regarding the geographical location of the study, the institutions and authors involved in the publication, main condition or disease investigated and time of publication was also obtained.


We identified 3,004 studies published over the 10-year period. Of these, 125 (4.2%) were considered eligible, and 66% of them were case series. Systematic reviews and randomized clinical trials accounted for approximately 10% of all the published papers. We observed an increase in high-quality evidence and a decrease in low-quality published papers over this period (P = 0.036). The inter-rater reliability demonstrated significant agreement between observers in terms of the level of evidence.


Increases in high-level evidence and in the total number of central nervous system papers were clearly demonstrated, although the overall number of such studies remained relatively small.

Keywords : Radiotherapy; Central nervous system neoplasms; Epidemiologic methods; Research design; Evidence-based medicine.

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