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Evaluation of surgery for colorectal cancer (CRC) is necessary to inform clinical decision-making and healthcare policy. The standards of outcome reporting after CRC surgery have not previously been considered.Systematic literature searches identified randomized and nonrandomized prospective studies reporting clinical outcomes of CRC surgery. Outcomes were listed verbatim, categorized into broad groups (outcome domains) and examined for a definition (an appropriate textual explanation or a supporting citation). Outcome reporting was considered inconsistent if results of the outcome specified in the methods were not reported. Outcome reporting was compared between randomized and nonrandomized studies.Of 5644 abstracts, 194 articles (34 randomized and 160 nonrandomized studies) were included reporting 766 different clinical outcomes, categorized into seven domains. A mean of 14 ± 8 individual outcomes were reported per study. 'Anastomotic leak', 'overall survival' and 'wound infection' were the three most frequently reported outcomes in 72, 60 and 44 (37.1%, 30.9% and 22.7%) studies, respectively, and no single outcome was reported in every publication. Outcome definitions were significantly more often provided in randomized studies than in nonrandomized studies (19.0% vs 14.9%, P = 0.015). One-hundred and twenty-seven (65.5%) papers reported results of all outcomes specified in the methods (randomized studies, n = 21, 61.5%; nonrandomized studies, n = 106, 66.2%; P = 0.617).Outcome reporting in CRC surgery lacks consistency and method. Improved standards of outcome measurement are recommended to permit data synthesis and transparent cross-study comparisons.

Original publication




Journal article


Colorectal disease : the official journal of the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland

Publication Date





e548 - e560


Centre for Surgical Research, School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK; Division of Surgery Head and Neck, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol, UK.


Core Outcomes and iNformation SEts iN SUrgical Studies - ColoRectal Cancer Working Group, Humans, Colorectal Neoplasms, Neoplasm Recurrence, Local, Neoplasm, Residual, Postoperative Complications, Outcome and Process Assessment (Health Care), Research Report