Mitchell ME, Lowe K, Fryzek J. 2012. A multisource approach to improving epidemiologic estimates: Application to global B-cell malignancies. ISRN Oncol 2012:129713.
The compilation of comprehensive, worldwide epidemiologic data can inform hypotheses on cancer etiology and guide future drug development. These statistics are reported by a multitude of sources using varying methods; thus, compiling a complete database of these statistics is a challenge. To this end, this paper examined the usefulness of a novel, multisource approach—extracting data from the peer-reviewed literature, online reports, and query systems from cancer registries and health agencies and directly contacting cancer registry personnel—for building a comprehensive, multinational epidemiologic cancer database. The major B-cell malignancies were chosen as the cancer subtype to test this approach largely because their epidemiology has not been well characterized in the peer-reviewed literature. We found that a multisource approach yields a more comprehensive epidemiologic database than what would have been possible with the use of literature searches alone. In addition, our paper revealed that cancer registries vary considerably in their methodology, comprehensiveness, and ability to gather information on specific B-cell malignancy subtypes. Collectively, this paper demonstrates the feasibility and value of a multisource approach to gathering epidemiologic data.