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Critical Evaluation of the Quality and Recommendations of Clinical Practice Guidelines for Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma

Yu-Pei Chen, Ya-Qin Wang, Wen-Fei Li, Lei Chen, Cheng Xu, Tai-Xiang Lu, Ai-Hua Lin, Ji-Jin Yao, Yang-Chan Li, Ying Sun, Yan-Ping Mao, and Jun Ma

Background: Given the distinct biological characteristics and regional distribution of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) compared with other head and neck cancers, and uncertainties regarding therapeutic strategies, physicians require high-quality clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) to provide transparent recommendations for NPC treatment. This study aimed to critically appraise the quality of NPC CPGs and assess the consistency of their recommendations. Methods: We identified CPGs that provided recommendations on the diagnosis and management of NPC published up to December 2015. Four investigators independently appraised CPG quality using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research & Evaluation (AGREE) II instrument. Key recommendations by CPGs were also evaluated. Results: A total of 7 CPGs were eligible for this study: 5 produced by professional organizations or governmental agencies and 2 were developed based on expert consensus. Of the 6 AGREE II domains, the applicability domain scored consistently low across CPGs (range, 13.5%–30.2%); no CPG achieved a score of >50% in all 6 domains. The scope and purpose domain (≥73.6% for 4 CPGs) and editorial independence domain (≥75.0% for 6 CPGs) scored highest. Of the 23 AGREE II items, 9 scored less than half of the points available in all 7 CPGs. The recommendations by CPGs were consistent in general; heterogeneity mainly existed among recommended therapeutic strategies. Conclusions: Variation exists in NPC CPG development processes and recommendations. Increased efforts are required to make comprehensive resources available to guide healthcare providers and enhance delivery of high-quality, evidence-based care for NPC. International collaboration is necessary to enable the development of high-quality and regionally relevant CPGs for NPC.

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Impact of the Extent of Lymph Node Dissection on Precise Staging and Survival in Clinical I–II Pure-Solid Lung Cancer Undergoing Lobectomy

Donglai Chen, Yiming Mao, Junmiao Wen, Jian Shu, Fei Ye, Yunlang She, Qifeng Ding, Li Shi, Tao Xue, Min Fan, Yongbing Chen, and Chang Chen

Background: This study sought to determine the optimal number of examined lymph nodes (ELNs) and examined node stations (ENSs) in patients with radiologically pure-solid non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who underwent lobectomy and ipsilateral lymphadenectomy by investigating the impact of ELNs and ENSs on accurate staging and long-term survival. Materials and Methods: Data from 6 institutions in China on resected clinical stage I–II (cI–II) NSCLCs presenting as pure-solid tumors were analyzed for the impact of ELNs and ENSs on nodal upstaging, stage migration, recurrence-free survival (RFS), and overall survival (OS). Correlations between different endpoints and ELNs or ENSs were fitted with a LOWESS smoother, and the structural break points were determined by Chow test. Results: Both ELNs and ENSs were identified as independent prognostic factors for OS (ENS hazard ratio [HR], 0.690; 95% CI, 0.597–0.797; P<.001; ELN HR, 0.950; 95% CI, 0.917–0.983; P=.004) and RFS (ENS HR, 0.859; 95% CI, 0.793–0.931; P<.001; ELN HR, 0.960; 95% CI, 0.942–0.962; P<.001), which were also associated with postoperative nodal upstaging (ENS odds ratio [OR], 1.057; 95% CI, 1.002–1.187; P=.004; ELN OR, 1.186; 95% CI, 1.148–1.226; P<.001). A greater number of ELNs and ENSs correlated with a higher accuracy of nodal staging and a lower probability of stage migration. Cut-point analysis revealed an optimal cutoff of 18 LNs and 6 node stations for stage cI–II pure-solid NSCLCs, which were validated in our multi-institutional cohort. Conclusions: Extensive examination of LNs and node stations seemed crucial to predicting accurate staging and survival outcomes. A threshold of 18 LNs and 6 node stations might be considered for evaluating the quality of LN examination in patients with stage cI–II radiologically pure-solid NSCLCs.