How to use guidelines on reporting tumour marker prognostic studies
The REMARK checklist explained
In the form of elaboration and explanation of the Reporting Recommendations for Tumour Marker Prognostic Studies (REMARK) checklist, Doug Altman of the University of Oxford, UK and colleagues provide a detailed reference for authors on important issues to consider when designing, conducting, analysing and reporting tumour marker prognostic studies. Writing in thePLoS Medicine(and co-published inBMC Medicine) the authors explain the checklist items in detail and illustrate each one with published examples of good reporting.
In this Guidelines and Guidance article, the authors wrote that physicians seek information about tumour markers to inform therapeutic decisions for individual patients. In order that information about the utility of tumour markers is appropriately evaluated, the methods used to study the markers and the results generated must be fully reported.
High quality reporting of tumour marker studies
Incomplete reporting of prognostic marker studies in cancer and other specialities is a regrettably frequent occurrence. The REMARK recommendations, published in 2005, provide criteria for assessing the completeness of reporting of such studies, though it is important to highlight that REMARK should not be used to dictate standards for the quality of research. Instead, it is intended to be a useful tool to assist with assembling the necessary information for judging the quality and relevance of research. Altman and colleagues aim to educate users of the REMARK checklist, leading to more effective implementation of its recommendations, and as a result, more consistent, high quality reporting of tumour marker studies.
The authors commented that good reporting reveals the strengths and weaknesses of a study and facilitates sound interpretation and application of study results. The REMARK recommendations may also aid in planning new studies, and may be helpful for peer reviewers and editors in their evaluation of manuscripts.
No direct funding was received for this study. Doug Altman is supported by a grant from Cancer Research UK (C5529). The other authors were personally salaried by their institutions during the period of writing (though no specific salary was set aside or given for the writing of this paper). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. All authors declare no competing interests.
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