The landscape of systematic reviews in urology (1998 to 2015): an assessment of methodological quality

Julia L. Han, Shreyas Gandhi, Crystal G. Bockoven, Vikram M. Narayan, Philipp Dahm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Objectives: To assess the quality of published systematic reviews in the urology literature (an extension of our previously reported work), as high-quality systematic reviews play a paramount role in informing evidence-based clinical practice. Materials and Methods: Our focus was on systematic reviews in the urology literature that incorporated questions of prevention and therapy. To identify such reviews published during a 36-month period (2013–2015), we systematically searched PubMed and hand-searched the table of contents of four major urology journals. Two reviewers independently assessed the methodological quality of those reviews, using the 11-point ‘Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews’ (AMSTAR) instrument. We performed protocol-driven analyses of the data from our present study's 36-month period alone, as well as in aggregate with the data from our previously reported work's study periods (2009–2012 and 1998–2008). Results: In our literature search of the 36-month period (2013–2015), we initially identified 490 possibly relevant reviews, of which 125 met our inclusion criteria. The most common topic of reviews for the 2013–2015 period was oncology (51.2%; n = 64), followed by voiding dysfunction (21.6%; n = 27). The mean [standard deviation (SD)] AMSTAR score in the 2013–2015 period (n = 125) was 4.8 (2.4); 2009–2012 (n = 113), 5.4 (2.3); and 1998–2008 (n = 57), 4.8 (2.0) (P = 0.127). In the 2013–2015 period, the mean (SD) AMSTAR score for the BJU International (n = 25) was 5.6 (2.9); for The Journal of Urology (n = 20), 5.1 (2.6); for European Urology (n = 60), 4.5 (2.2); and for Urology (n = 20), 4.4 (2.2) (P = 0.106). Conclusions: The number of systematic reviews published in the urology literature has exponentially increased, year by year, but their methodological quality has stagnated. To enhance the validity and impact of systematic reviews, all authors and editors must apply established methodological standards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)638-649
Number of pages12
JournalBJU International
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Authors BJU International © 2016 BJU International Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR)
  • evidence-based medicine
  • methodological quality
  • systematic reviews


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