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The landscape of knowledge translation interventions in cancer control: What do we know and where to next? A review of systematic reviews

Melissa C Brouwers12*, Kimberly Garcia1, Julie Makarski1, Lubna Daraz3, of the Evidence Expert Panel and of the KT for Cancer Control in Canada Project Research Team

Author Affiliations

1 McMaster University, Department of Oncology, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

2 McMaster University, Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

3 McMaster University, School of Rehabilitation Science, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

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Implementation Science 2011, 6:130  doi:10.1186/1748-5908-6-130

Published: 20 December 2011



Effective implementation strategies are needed to optimize advancements in the fields of cancer diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, and end-of-life care. We conducted a review of systematic reviews to better understand the evidentiary base of implementation strategies in cancer control.


Using three databases, we conducted a search and identified English-language systematic reviews published between 2005 and 2010 that targeted consumer, professional, organizational, regulatory, or financial interventions, tested exclusively or partially in a cancer context (primary focus); generic or non-cancer-specific reviews were also considered. Data were extracted, appraised, and analyzed by members of the research team, and research ideas to advance the field were proposed.


Thirty-four systematic reviews providing 41 summaries of evidence on 19 unique interventions comprised the evidence base. AMSTAR quality ratings ranged between 2 and 10. Team members rated most of the interventions as promising and in need of further research, and 64 research ideas were identified.


While many interventions show promise of effectiveness in the cancer-control context, few reviews were able to conclude definitively in favor of or against a specific intervention. We discuss the complexity of implementation research and offer suggestions to advance the science in this area.