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. Those comments and responses included the following:
- Reviewers expressed concern that there remains insufficient evidence of the utility of surveillance after treatment of lung cancer. They stated that it would be more important for researchers to investigate this question first, before studying the relationship of surveillance intensity to lung cancer outcomes. In response, the researchers cited studies demonstrating a reduction in cancer-related mortality when patients received some sort of post-treatment surveillance but acknowledged that they did not design the current study to evaluate whether any surveillance is better than no surveillance.
- Reviewers noted the potential for selection bias in forming the study cohort in that surveillance imaging, by definition, takes place in patients who are cancer-free. Thus, for patients to participate in annual surveillance imaging they would need to be cancer-free for one year, whereas for patients to participate in surveillance imaging every 3 months, they would have to be cancer-free for only 3 months. Thus, the patients who were cancer-free long enough to participate in annual surveillance were less likely to ever have a recurrence than the patients who participated in 3-month surveillance. The researchers acknowledged this limitation but attempted to reduce this bias by only comparing patients who remained disease-free for the same period of time in both groups.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures
View the COI disclosure form.