ASTRO’S Annual Meeting is the premier radiation oncology scientific event in the world and draws more than 11,000 attendees each year.
During the 2016 Annual Meeting, we highlighted recent technological advances while emphasizing the importance of the clinical and non-clinical skills needed to provide patients with the full benefit of radiation oncology. The scientific program continues to be the ideal platform to bring together clinicians, scientists and researchers from all oncology disciplines to exchange ideas, promote multidisciplinary care and address the educational and professional development interests of our attendees.
Scientific and educational sessions covered specific clinical areas including breast, central nervous system, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, gynecologic, head and neck, immuntherapy, lymphoma, musculoskeletal, pediatric, sarcoma and thoracic cancers. Radiation biology and radiation physics concepts were explored in their own tracks.
The Annual Meeting featured a continued emphasis on patient quality and safety issues in the delivery of radiation therapy in the areas of treatment techniques, equipment, terminology and professional responsibilities. Program content has been designed to address specific documented and clinically important practice gaps in physician knowledge, competence and performance.
ASTRO is an accredited provider of continuing medical education and adheres to the policies and standards set forth by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). As such, abstract authors are required to disclose relationships with commercial interests. A commercial interest is defined as "any entity developing, producing, marketing, re-selling or distributing health care goods or services consumed by or used on patients."
To ensure its compliance, ASTRO expects that the content and related materials will promote improvements or quality in health care and not a specific proprietary business interest or commercial bias. We employ several strategies to ensure absence of bias:
- Presenters are required to provide disclosure of relationships with commercial interests.
- Presenters are required to provide a balanced view of therapeutic options.
- All abstracts undergo a rigorous peer review process.
- Potential conflicts are managed by additional committee review, advance slide review and session audits.
Abstract Scoring Criteria
Abstracts are scored by blind peer review based on the following criteria:
- Does the abstract address an important and novel question?
- Does the study design permit the question to be answered?
- Are the endpoints of the study clearly defined?
- Is there an appropriate use of statistics?
- Are the methods described in sufficient detail?
- Are the conclusions supported by the data?
Specific questions for prospective clinical trials:
- What was the scientific hypothesis and primary endpoint?
- What was the eligibility criteria and study patient characteristics?
- What statistical model and assumptions were used?
- What was the toxicity assessment?
- What were the limitations?
- Was there a rationale, either clinical or laboratory, underlying the study design?
- Is it either promising enough to pursue or negative enough that presentation would prevent other investigators from wasting efforts?
Specific questions for retrospective reviews:
- Is the group of patients reasonably homogeneous?
- Have attempts been made to account for biases inherent in retrospective reviews?