Results Summary and Professional Abstract
Peer review of PCORI-funded research helps make sure the report presents complete, balanced, and useful information about the research. It also assesses how the project addressed PCORI’s Methodology Standards. During peer review, experts read a draft report of the research and provide comments about the report. These experts may include a scientist focused on the research topic, a specialist in research methods, a patient or caregiver, and a healthcare professional. These reviewers cannot have conflicts of interest with the study.
The peer reviewers point out where the draft report may need revision. For example, they may suggest ways to improve descriptions of the conduct of the study or to clarify the connection between results and conclusions. Sometimes, awardees revise their draft reports twice or more to address all of the reviewers’ comments.
Peer reviewers commented, and the researchers made changes or provided responses. The comments and responses included the following:
- Reviewers asked whether the decision tool developed in this study to help inform surveillance strategies would address patients’ family history or genetic mutation status. The researchers agreed that family history was particularly important as a determinant of future risk for breast cancer. However, the tool did not incorporate family history and genetic status since this information was not routinely collected in the study data and medical records that the study analyzed. The researchers added this as a study limitation.
- Reviewers asked whether clinicians and patients would have the literacy and numeracy to be able to convey and understand the probabilities the decision tool provides. The researchers agreed that this is a critical issue, but that they intended the initial tool to inform clinicians as they develop follow-up recommendations to share with patients. The researchers did not design the tool to replace joint physician-patient decision making. However, future iterations of the tool will be formally tested with clinicians and patients to be more directly applicable to joint decision making.
- Reviewers requested additional information on the subjects in the 17 legacy clinical trials which the researchers analyzed to evaluate how recurrence varies based on patient and cancer characteristics, to assess the representativeness of the patients in these trials. The researchers added a table of the subjects’ demographic and clinical characteristics. They also clarified in the report that patients enrolled in clinical trials may not represent the broader population of cancer survivors as they tended to be healthier and less ethnically and economically diverse.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures
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