Article Abstract

Patterns of symptom control and palliative care-focused original research articles in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology *Biology* Physics and the Radiotherapy and Oncology Journal, 2005–2014

Authors: Diana D. Shi, Julia DiGiovanni, Sonia Skamene, Sarah Noveroske Philbrick, Yanbing Wang, Elizabeth A. Barnes, Edward Chow, Adam Sullivan, Tracy A. Balboni


Background: A significant portion of radiation treatment (30–40%) is delivered with palliative intent. Given the frequency of palliative care (PC) in radiation oncology, we determined the patterns of research focusing on symptom control and palliative care (SCPC) in two prominent radiation oncology journals from 2005–2014.
Methods: Original research manuscripts published from 2005–2014 in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology *Biology* Physics (Red Journal) and the Radiotherapy and Oncology Journal (Green Journal) were reviewed to categorize articles as PC and/or SCPC. Articles were categorized as PC if it pertained to any aspect of treatment of metastatic cancer, and as SCPC if symptom control in the metastatic cancer setting was the goal of the research inquiry and/or any domain of palliative clinical practice guidelines was the goal of research inquiry.
Results: From 2005–2014, 4.9% (312/6,386) of original research articles published in the Red Journal and 3.5% (84/2406) published in the Green Journal pertained to metastatic cancer, and were categorized as PC. In the Red Journal, 1.3% (84/6,386) of original research articles were categorized as SCPC; 1.3% (32/2,406) of articles in the Green Journal were categorized as SCPC. There was no trend observed in the proportion of SCPC articles published over time in the Red Journal (P=0.76), the Green Journal (P=0.48), or both journals in aggregate (P=0.38).
Conclusions: Despite the fact that palliative radiotherapy is a critical part of radiation oncology practice, PC and SCPC-focused original research is poorly represented in the Red Journal and the Green Journal.