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Test performance metrics for breast, cervical, colon and lung cancer screening: a systematic review

Multiple quality metrics have been recommended to ensure consistent, high-quality execution of screening tests for breast, cervical, colorectal, and lung cancers. However, minimal data exist evaluating the evidence base supporting these recommendations and the consistency of definitions and concepts included within and between cancer types. We performed a systematic review for each cancer type using MEDLINE, Embase, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) from 2010 to April 2020 to identify guidelines from screening programs or professional organizations containing quality metrics for tests used in breast, cervical, colorectal, and lung cancer screening. We abstracted metrics’ definitions, target performance levels, and related supporting evidence for test completeness, adequacy (sufficient visualization or collection), accuracy, and safety. We identified 11 relevant guidelines with 20 suggested quality metrics for breast cancer, 5 guidelines with 9 metrics for cervical cancer, 13 guidelines with 18 metrics for colorectal cancer (CRC), and 3 guidelines with 7 metrics for lung cancer. These included 54 metrics related to adequacy (n = 6), test completeness (n = 3), accuracy (n = 33), and safety (n = 12). Target performance levels were defined for 30 metrics (56%). Ten (19%) were supported by evidence, all from breast and CRC, with no evidence cited to support metrics from cervical and lung cancer screening. Considerably more guideline-recommended test performance metrics exist for breast and CRC screening than cervical or lung cancer. The domains covered are inconsistent among cancers, and few targets are supported by evidence. Clearer evidence-based domains and targets are needed for test performance metrics. PROSPERO 2020 CRD42020179139.

Authors: Selby, Kevin; Corley, Douglas A; et al.

J Natl Cancer Inst. 2023 Apr 11;115(4):375-384.

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