Clinical practice guidelines for the management of recurrent head and neck cancer: a systematic review and quality appraisal

Emma De Ravin, Joseph Lu, Mandy Salmon, Sanjena Venkatesh, Dominic Romeo, Alvaro Moreira, Karthik Rajasekaran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Recurrent head and neck cancer (HNC) has a significant global disease burden and its treatment is complex. Multiple clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) have been developed to improve management of these patient populations; however, no study has systematically reviewed the quality and rigor in development of these guidelines. Here, we identify and systematically appraise existing recommendations for the management of recurrent HNC and assess their clinical applicability, methodologic rigor, and transparency of development. Methods: A systematic search of the PubMed, Embase, and Scopus databases was conducted for recurrent HNC CPGs. Each guideline was scored independently by four reviewers trained in the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation, 2nd edition (AGREE II) methodology. Salient recommendations from the selected guidelines were summarized. Results: Our literature search yielded 1799 articles; after iterative title/abstract and full text screening, five remaining guidelines met inclusion criteria. CPGs received the lowest scores in ‘Applicability’ and ‘Rigor of development,’ with scores of 12.9% and 22.3%, respectively. Overall quality of available guidelines for management of recurrent HNC is poor, with an average overall scaled domain score of 40.9% (± 11.0), and with four guidelines (80.0%) receiving an overall quality rating of ‘low’. Conclusion: We found significant variability in quality and overall lack of methodologic rigor among available guidelines for the management of recurrent HNC. Future groups developing recommendations for this purpose should implement the AGREE II framework to improve quality and standardization of their guidelines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-305
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Clinical practice guideline
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Recommendation
  • Recurrent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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