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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Oncology - Science Policy

Contribution of Case Reports to Brain Metastases Research: Systematic Review and Analysis of Pattern of Citation
Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Author: Carsten Nieder et al.

by Carsten Nieder, Adam Pawinski, Astrid Dalhaug

Research activity related to different aspects of prevention, prediction, diagnosis and treatment of brain metastases has increased during recent years. One of the major databases (Scopus) contains 942 scientific articles that were published during the 5-year time period 2006–2010. Of these, 195 (21%) reported on single patient cases and 12 (1%) were reports of 2 cases. Little is known about their influence on advancement of the field or scientific merits. Do brain metastases case reports attract attention and provide stimuli for further research or do they go largely unrecognized? Different measures of impact, visibility and quality of published research are available, each with its own pros and cons. For the present evaluation, article citation rate was chosen. The median number of citations overall and stratified by year of publication was 0, except for the year 2006 when it was 2. As compared to other articles, case reports remained more often without citation (p<0.05 except for 2006 data). All case reports with 10 or more citations (n?=?6) reported on newly introduced anticancer drugs, which commonly are prescribed to treat extracranial metastases, and the responses observed in single patients with brain metastases. Average annual numbers of citations were also calculated. The articles with most citations per year were the same six case reports mentioned above (the only ones that obtained more than 2.0 citations per year). Citations appeared to gradually increase during the first two years after publication but remained on a generally low or modest level. It cannot be excluded that case reports without citation provide interesting information to some clinicians or researchers. Apparently, case reports describing unexpected therapeutic success gain more attention, at least in terms of citation, than others.