Review of 40-year MD theses in medical oncology.

Zeeneldin A, Diyaa A, Moneer M, Elgammal M, Buhoush W. Review of 40-year MD theses in medical oncology. J Egypt Natl Canc Inst. 2014;26(3):109-18. copy at


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: It is almost 40 years since the foundation of the Medical Oncology (MO) Department. We aimed to appraise the clinical research to fulfill the Medical Doctorate (MD) degree in MO at the National Cancer Institute, Cairo University (NCI, CU).

METHODS: This review included 62 MD theses containing 66 studies. They were reviewed regarding aims, type of study, clinical trial phase, design and methodology, statistical tests, results, limitations, consent and IRB approval. Theses were grouped into 3 periods: 1970-1989, 1990-1999 and 2000-2008.

RESULTS: Almost 76% of the studies were interventional and 24% were observational. Informed consent and Institutional Review Board approval were mentioned in 18 and 2 studies, respectively. While all studies mentioned the aims, none, clearly mentioned the research question. Outcomes were mainly efficacy followed by safety. Study design was inadequately considered, especially in 70's-80's period (p=0.038). Median sample size and study duration were almost stable through the three periods (p=0.441, 0.354, respectively). Most of the studies used both descriptive and analytical statistical methods. In a descending order, researched cancers were lymphoma, breast, leukemia, liver, urinary bladder, lung and colorectal. The commonest stages researched were IV and III. The number of studies focused on assessing biomarkers, biomarkers plus drugs/procedures, drugs and procedures are 20, 20, 16 and 6, respectively.

CONCLUSION: With time, research within MD theses in MO increased quantitatively and qualitatively. Improvements were noticeable in documentation of study design.