This review summarizes the abstracts sent to the 2023 Congress of the National Society of Medical Oncology. Thus, of the 49 summaries sent, 26 were case presentations, 12 were reviews, and 11 were original works. The general impression is that there are too few summaries for approximately 700 oncological doctors, including resident doctors. Also, the original works are too few and some are described briefly, unable to be appreciated in depth, so without being able to make references to their scientific value. I exemplified several works with formally good summaries. I did not assess the quality of the studies and whether they were well conducted, because a summary does not allow this. For those interested, I published the criteria of an ideal summary. The conclusion is that there must be a school for those who want to publish and a lot of practice that can only be obtained by publishing in “less pretentious” journals in order to achieve performance in the field.
abstract, publications, medical conferences
Acest review include o analiză sumară a rezumatelor trimise la Congresul Societăţii Naţionale de Oncologie Medicală din anul 2023. Astfel, din cele 49 de rezumate trimise, 26 au fost prezentări de caz, 12 au fost review-uri şi 11 lucrări originale. Impresia generală este că, la aproximativ 700 de medici oncologi, incluzând şi medicii rezidenţi, sunt prea puţine rezumate. De asemenea, lucrările originale sunt prea puţine, iar unele sunt descrise sumar, neputând fi apreciate în profunzime, deci fără a putea face referiri la valoarea lor ştiinţifică. Am exemplificat prin câteva lucrări cu rezumate formal bune. Nu am făcut aprecieri asupra calităţii studiilor sau asupra faptului dacă au fost bine conduse, deoarece un rezumat nu permite acest lucru. Pentru a-i ajuta pe cei interesaţi, am publicat criteriile unui rezumat ideal. Concluzia este că trebuie să existe o şcoală pentru cei care vor să publice şi mult exerciţiu care nu se poate obţine decât publicând în reviste „mai puţin pretenţioase”, pentru a putea ajunge la performanţe în domeniu.
This review analyzes the abstracts sent for publication in the journal Oncolog-Hematolog.ro and presented at the 2023 Congress of the National Society of Medical Oncology. We believe that the analysis of these summaries will give us an expression of the scientific level of the society members and of the stage of clinical research in oncology in Romania. Thus, we will start with some numerical data of the participation of those who sent summaries. Out of the approximately 700 medical oncologists in Romania, a figure that also includes resident doctors, there were sent 49 abstracts. As a general assessment, only 44 abstracts had keywords and only five abstracts fully respected the internationally recognized subsections for editing an abstract. In order to obtain abstracts of an improved quality in the future, we present below the scheme for writing an abstract as internationally accepted.
Analysis of abstracts
The first abstract published in our journal is actually a brief presentation of a diagnostic procedure, without being considered a study in any case. Further, the summary of the collective from the University of Craiova describes a study that seems to have value, but the way of presentation is brief and does not meet the standards – “Axitinib and sorafenib treatment inhibit high-grade glioma cell growth in vitro”, by Ştefan-Alexandru Artene, Alexandru Opriţa, Mihaela-Amelia Dobrescu, Elena-Victoria Manea, Ştefana-Oana Popescu, Elena-Luiza Artene, Andreea-Silvia Pîrvu, Iuliana-Mihaela Buzatu, Daniela-Elise Tache and Anica Dricu.
Another type of work presented at the congress and summarized for publication is the review. Unfortunately, with some exceptions, it was not understood that this should also be presented according to the standardized type. And I remember as one of the positive exceptions the following abstract: “Emerging roles of mRNA/miRNA/lncRNA networks in non-small cell lung cancer”, by Cecilia Bica, Cornelia Braicu, Lajos Ráduly, Cristina-Alexandra Ciocan and Ioana-Berindan Neagoe, from the Research Center for Functional Genomics, Biomedicine and Translational Medicine of the “Iuliu Haţieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca. This brings arguments that the research and the researchers should be promoted more. Unfortunately, sponsorships are only for the big prescribers, as they are the closest to the pharmaceutical industry.
We must mention that it was a multitude of case presentations sent like abstracts, which in the classification of evidence are in the last place, and some journals do not even accept case presentations, and these case presentations had six or seven authors from the same specialty, so you don’t even know who treated the cases. Of course, in the educational process, case presentations have an important role when it comes to very rare clinical situations or very rare diseases in which there is no experience in clinical trials.
Another example worth mentioning is the abstract of the study “The evolution of neoadjuvant treatment in rectal cancer – experience of the Oncology Clinic of the Elias University Emergency Hospital”, by Cristian Iaciu, Manuela Barna, Andrei Anghel, Ramona Ionescu, Ana Markos, Ilinca Ribac, Lavinia Grigore, Ioana Cojocaru, Daniela Stan, Raluca Bădulescu, Cristina Badic, Oana Popescu and Monica Boghici, from the Oncology Clinic and the Radiotherapy Department of the “Elias” University Emergency Hospital, Bucharest. In this abstract, we are not given the number of patients taken in the study, or the criteria for the selection of patients, or how they were evaluated. We also know nothing about the control arm, or if it existed. The presentation scheme is not discussed, which is not respected at all. But we have 13 authors.I have to make a clarification at this point of the evaluation, namely that there is still an old custom in Romania, at least in oncology, of including as many authors as possible in a work in order to each have an activity in the record, although the collaboration between authors actually does not exist. I cannot say this about authors’ collectives from any summary that I analyzed but, from my experience, I know that this happens. The scientific collaboration in Romania is very deficient, especially in clinics, and it is caused by a bad organization of the doctors’ activity in the ward, by the disrespect of the professional hierarchy, by the too high rate of patients sometimes and, unfortunately, by some arrogance.
I think that all the authors of some original studies should be highlighted, even though there were some imperfections. Thus, an original study that, as a summary, also respected the standard is: “Results of surgical treatment in patients with lung cancer undergoing a cardiovascular prehabilitation program”, by Igor Maxim, Ion Burlacu and Serghei Guţu, from the “Nicolae Anestiadi” Surgery Department, Chişinău, the “Nicolae Testemiţanu” State University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Chişinău, and the Institute of Emergency Medicine, Chişinău, Republic of Moldova. Unfortunately, because we are at a Medical Oncology Congress, this summary was elaborated by surgeons and not by medical oncologists. I recall with the same mentions as for the aforementioned abstract the paper: “The role of pre-treatment inflammatory biomarkers in the prediction of response to cetuximab therapy in metastatic colorectal cancer”, by A. Necula, A. Belu and C.C. Burz, from the “Iuliu Haţieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca, “Prof. Dr. Ion Chiricuţă” Institute of Oncology, Cluj-Napoca, and Center Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Summaries such as “Immune-related toxicity and its impact on oncological outcomes in patients with melanoma – experience of the Clinic of Medical Oncology from the Elias University Emergency Hospital”, by Cristina Orlov-Slavu, Andreea Pătraşcu, Ruxandra Horomnea, Ana Mihai, Răzvan Stoica, Andreea Scînteie, Alexandra Câţoiu and Alexandra Hoz, can be considered some “information” which shows that a clinic from the “Elias” Hospital has been studied, but this “information” does not represent a summary.
The original studies with formally correct summaries came from the “Prof. Dr. Ion Chiricuţă” Institute of Oncology, Cluj-Napoca, and less from the “Prof. Dr. Alexandru Trestioreanu” Institute of Oncology, Bucharest, and from other hospitals in Bucharest.
Another abstract from Cluj – according to the expression a good one, a bad one – is an example of some superficiality: “Bioactivity of fucoxanthin alone and in combination on glioblastoma cell lines”, by Lavinia-Lorena Pruteanu, from the Department of Chemistry and Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Baia Mare; Research Center for Functional Genomics, Biomedicine and Translational Medicine, “Iuliu Haţieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
I mention the study by the clinicians from Craiova which refers to a series of cases, a study that is classified one step higher on the evidence scale: “Lung cancer and type 2 diabetes experience in Dolj County (southwest part of Romania) – a clinical, bioclinical and pathological study”, by Mihai-Cosmin Stan, Ciprian-Camil Mireştean, Daniel Stoica, Carmen-Florina Popescu and Florinel Bădulescu, from the Medical Oncology Department, Emergency County Hospital Râmnicu Vâlcea, the Department of Surgery, CFR Clinical Hospital, Iaşi, the Department of Pathology, Emergency Clinical County Hospital Craiova, and the Oncology and Radiotherapy Department from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Craiova, Romania.
For conferences of international societies, there are the following recommendations which, of course, exceed the possibilities of the National Society of Medical Oncology from Romania, but they point to the existence of some criteria that determine both the increase in the quality of the summaries sent and the prestige of the respective medical society. The following principles aim at covering the key areas relevant for submission to any research-based conference.
Author listings should reflect those who did the research and can take accountability for its conduct, and for the analysis and interpretation of the findings. Criteria for authorship of conference abstracts and presentations should generally be the same as those for full publications, although there can be occasions where local presenters may be included as authors – for example, where a conference requires a presenter to be listed as an author.
All authors should be involved in the development and approve the final version of any abstract, poster or slides that bear their names. For studies involving large numbers of researchers, it may be most efficient for a subgroup of those involved in the studies to develop conference abstracts and presentations (similar to the use of a writing group to develop publications from large studies).
Posters and slides should list key contributors and describe their contributions to the research and development of the presentation.
Study registration numbers (e.g., ClinicalTrials.gov, EudraCT, PROSPERO) should be included on abstracts, posters and slides.
All sources of funding for the research and its presentation and any author conflicts of interests should be disclosed on posters and slides on the conference submission site, and if space permits, on abstracts. Furthermore, any medical writing support and associated funding should be acknowledged on posters and slides, on the conference submission site, and if space permits, on abstracts(8).
I am glad that there were some well-written summaries which reveal aspects of scientific value. Unfortunately, the overall opinion on these abstracts is only partially positive, so we can say that, out of the 49 summaries, 26 were case presentations, 12 were reviews, and 11 were original works. It would have been interesting if this analysis had been done within the congress, as it was performed at ESMO. The interest in doing things as required by the demands of a conference is very low. The school that the publication of articles in the Oncolog-Hematolog.ro journal could represent is ignored, arguing that the journal is not a PubMed chain. But these abstracts sent would not be admitted in PubMed anyway. The idea that the ascension on the scientific line is easily obtained, and it is only necessary that “someone” pushes you from behind and everything is achievable, is not ethical, therefore not correct. Scientific ascension is achieved only through hard work. The frequent publication of the results of scientific activities leads to the acquisition of the necessary experience to achieve performance in the field.
Conflict of interest: none declared.
Financial support: none declared.
This work is permanently accessible online free of charge and published under the CC-BY licence.
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