The Oral Health Group has registered its first two titles reviewing diagnostic tests. Both titles will look at oral cancer and precancerous lesions. They are:
Diagnostic tests for oral cancer in patients presenting with clinically suspicious lesions in a secondary care setting
Clinical assessment to screen for the detection of oral cancer and potentially malignant disorders in asymptomatic individuals
The Group has assembled an experienced team to work on these complex reviews, led by Dr Tanya Walsh, who is on the Oral Health Group Editorial team. Diagnostic test accuracy reviews are relatively new to Cochrane, and the Oral Health Group plans to undertake only these two titles at the moment as an initial foray into the field. The Group will be supported by the Cochrane Diagnostic Test UK Support Unit (more here), who have already provided training and information for the team at the editorial base.
Diagnostic test accuracy studies look at how precise a test is in detecting a condition in a patient at a particular point in time. Test accuracy is measured by looking at what proportion of those with the disease are detected by the test (sensitivity) and what proportion of those without the disease get a negative test result (specificity). The reviews take the best available method for detecting the condition (the reference standard) and compare this with one or more alternative tests (index tests).
Work on the two protocols is now underway and we look forward to publishing them soon!