Evidence-based Oncology Research Group

German version

Evidence-based oncology aims to combine the best available (study-) evidence with clinical expertise and individual decision making in order to improve the care and outcomes of individuals with oncological diseases. The working group Evidence-based Oncology at the University Hospital of Cologne uses state-of-the-art methods and recognized standards in evidence-based medicine to achieve these goals in oncology and a range of topics in the field of internal medicine. The group’s methodological focus lies on clinical S3 guidelines (development of evidence profiles, risk-of-bias assessments, application of GRADE and Evidence-to-Decision Framework, MAGICapp), the preparation of methodologically complex and innovative systematic reviews and meta-analyses as well as research on and development of methods.

Address

Visitor´s address: Gleueler Straße 273, 50935 Köln
Postal address: Kerpener Straße 62, 50937 Köln

Our focus

The clinical focus of the Evidence-based Oncology research group lies on the evaluation of methods for the prevention, diagnosis and therapy of adult patients with oncological diseases. Particular expertise of the group includes leukaemias and lymphomas as well as non-oncological haematological diseases such as aplastic anaemia, but also supportive therapies, stem cell transplants and the use of haematopoietic growth factors. In addition to primarily haemato-oncological topics, the working group also addresses other oncological fields such as breast cancer, renal cell carcinoma, prostate cancer and thyroid carcinoma.

A methodological focus of the working group is the development and dissemination of methodologically advanced and rigorous systematic reviews to evaluate medical interventions. As part of the Editorial Base of Cochrane Haematology, one of 52 review groups of the renowned Cochrane Collaboration, its focus is on the preparation and editorial support of high-quality systematic reviews, so-called Cochrane Reviews. As an oncological review group of Cochrane, it is part of the international Cochrane Cancer network, which is led by Senior Editor PD Dr. Skoetz.

Another area of expertise of the working group is the preparation and coordination of clinical guidelines. The group is particularly specialized in guidelines that are based on the best available evidence and are produced as a result of the cooperation and coordination of leading clinical experts and thus are considered to provide the highest level of evidence (S3 guidelines). Together with national and international professional associations, the working group coordinates a large number of these projects and provides methodological expertise and evidence-based support. Finally, the members of the working group contribute significantly to the further development of evidence-based methods within the framework of international cooperations and networks.

Systematic reviews and meta-analyses

Innovative review methods applied by members of Evidence-based Oncology include, among others:

  • Network Meta-analyses
  • Systematic reviews of prognostic factors and models
  • Living Systematic Reviews
  • Systematic reviews based on non-randomized studies
  • Systematic reviews based on Clinical Study Reports
Clinical guidelines

When developing and conducting clinical guidelines, the members of the working group use the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. They are experts in the use of the respective well established as well as innovative instruments for the evaluation and communication of existing evidence, for example:

  • The Evidence-to-Decision Framework
  • Summary-of-Findings tables and evidence profiles in all formats 
  • The software GRADEpro Guideline Development Tool (GDT)
  • The MAGICapp software

In an executive and coordinating manner, the working group contributes, inter alia, to the following guidelines:

  • Hodgkin lymphoma (German Guideline Program in Oncology of the German Cancer Society, in cooperation with the German Society for Haematology and Medical Oncology)
  • Chronic lymphatic leukaemia (German Guideline Program in Oncology of the German Cancer Society, in cooperation with the German Society for Haematology and Medical Oncology)
  • Multiple Myeloma (German Guideline Program in Oncology of the German Cancer Society, in cooperation with the German Society of Hematology and Medical Oncology)

As supervising methodologists, the members of the working group participate in the following guidelines, among others:

  • Sleep apnea (led by the European Respiratory Society)
  • Supportive therapy for oncological patients (German Guideline Program in Oncology of the German Cancer Society, led by the German Cancer Society, the German Society for Hematology and Medical Oncology and the German Society for Radiation Oncology)
  • Follicular lymphoma (German Guideline Program in Oncology of the German Cancer Society, led by the German Society for Haematology and Medical Oncology)
  • Thyroid carcinoma (German Guideline Program in Oncology of the German Cancer Society, led by the German Society of Nuclear Medicine, the German Society for General and Visceral Surgery and the German Society of Endocrinology)
Methodological research

Assistant Professor Dr. Skoetz and her team focus on methodological research, among others:

  • Survival endpoints (so-called time-to-event outcomes), the associated methods and their use in systematic reviews and meta-analyses
  • Development of prognostic systematic reviews
  • Development of the Living Evidence approach
Collaborations

In both, their clinical and methodological activities, the members of the working group work closely with other experts and international organizations, for example:

  • Cochrane
  • Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE)
  • Living Evidence Network
  • World Health Organization
Patient participation

Patients and patient representatives are also involved in Cochrane Reviews. Participation helps to ensure that the perspective of people who are themselves affected by the health problem under investigation is taken into account in the following steps of the review process, among other things:

  • Specifying the research question
  • Prioritization of patient-relevant endpoints
  • Dissemination of research results to the public

Team

Research Assistants

Angela Aldin, M.Sc.
Moritz Ernst, M.Sc.
Marius Goldkuhle, M.Sc.
Tina Jakob, M.Sc.
Vanessa Piechotta, M.Sc.

Information Specialist
Ina Monsef

Student and scientific assistants

Burcu Besiroglu
Carolin Hornbach
Julia Caro-Valenzuela
Lara Mossakowski
Marco Kopp

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