Are clinical guidelines designed according to guidelines? Cross-sectional assessment of quality and transparency of clinical guidelines in urology

Guidelines and recommendations become increasingly important in clinical urologic practice. This study aims to inform clinicians using guidelines on how to evaluate the quality of the methodology and transparency of these documents.

The guidelines on management of castration-resistant prostate cancer of the American Urology Association, European Association of Urology, National Comprehensive Cancer Network, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, European Society of Medical Oncology were reviewed using the AGREE-II tool (Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation). We reported and compared the domain scores for the domains 1 scope and purpose, 2 stakeholder involvement, 3 rigor of development, 4 clarity of presentation, 5 applicability, and 6 editorial independence (100% indicates highest-best quality score).

The domains evaluated highest and with lowest variability were 'editorial independence' (92% {88-95%}) and 'clarity of presentation' (83% {72-90%}), while the domains with the lowest scores and most variability were 'stakeholder involvement' (56% {36-79%}) and 'applicability' (40% {30-63%}). Length and extent of detail of guidelines vary considerably, each with its own strengths and limitations and adapted to target users. Standard external review using AGREE criteria may be preferable. A formal search strategy was not performed. Findings may be outdated by guidelines' updates.

Clinicians using practice guidelines need to be aware of the different domains of methodology and transparency used to assess the quality of guidelines contents and recommendations. Urologists increasingly use guidelines for support in evidence-based recommendations in clinical practice. It is very important to know how to assess these documents. This study applies standard criteria to compare the design and background of different available guidelines on prostate cancer no longer responding to hormonal treatment.

World journal of urology. 2018 Apr 02 [Epub ahead of print]

Roderick C N van den Bergh, Piet Ost, Christian Surcel, Massimo Valerio, Jurgen J Fütterer, Giorgio Gandaglia, Prasanna Sooriakumaran, Derya Tilki, Igor Tsaur, Guillaume Ploussard, European Association of Urology Working Party on Prostate Cancer (EAU-YAUWP)

Department of Urology, Antonius Hospital, Utrecht, The Netherlands. ., Department of Radiotherapy, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium., Centre of Urological Surgery, Dialysis and Renal Transplantation, Fundeni Clinical Institute, Bucharest, Romania., Department of Urology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland., Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands., Division of Oncology/Unit of Urology, URI, IRCCS Ospedale San Raffaele, Milan, Italy., Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK., Department of Urology, Martini-Klinik Prostate Cancer Center and University Hospital, Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany., Department of Urology and Pediatric Urology, University Medical Center, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany., Department of Urology, Institut Universitaire du Cancer Toulouse - Oncopole, Saint Jean Languedoc Hospital, Toulouse, France.