Quantitative Analyses of Esophageal Cancer Research in Pakistan


Department of Molecular Pathology, Dow International Medical College, Dow Diagnostic Research and Reference Laboratory, Dow University of Health Sciences Karachi, Pakistan Email : asif@asifqureshi.com


Background: Healthcare research is a neglected discipline in Pakistan and research related to esophageal cancer (ranks 9th in Pakistani males and 5th in females) is no exception in this regard. Particularly, there are no data available to delineate the overall status of esophageal cancer epidemiological studies in Pakistan. This study describes the first ever effort to make a systematic quantification, in an attempt to provide a roadmap to all stakeholders for designing appropriate epidemiological, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. Materials and Methods: International (PubMed, ISI Web of Knowledge) and local (PakMedinet) scientific databases as well as Google search engine were searched using specified keywords to extract relevant publication. Well defined inclusion criteria were implemented to select publications for final analyses. All data were recorded by at least 3 authors and consensus data were entered into and analyzed for descriptive statistics (such as frequencies, percentages and annual growth rates) using Microsoft Excel and SPSS software. Results: A total of 79 publications fulfilled the inclusion criteria including 20 publications for which full texts were not available. Of the 79 publications, 59 (74.6%) were original/research publications, 5 (6.3%) were case reports, 4 (5.1%) were research communications, 2 (2.5%) were review articles, 1 was (1.2%) correspondence and 8 (10.1%) were un defined categories. Only 13 <20%) cities of Pakistan contributed towards the 79 publications. On average, only 1.9 relevant publications/year were published from 1976 (year of first publication) to the present. Alarmingly, a decline in the annual growth at 4.1% was recorded in the last six years. Conclusions: Esophageal cancer research is largely unfathomed in Pakistan. Urgent/dramatic steps are required by all concerned to address this common (and under reported) cancer of Pakistan.